News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 26, 2021

Province Releases Spring Thaw Outlook


Spring Weather Conditions to Determine High Water Activity: Schuler

Manitoba’s Hydrologic Forecast Centres spring thaw outlook reports the risk of a major spring high water event remains low in most Manitoba basins and is still dependent on weather conditions from now until spring melt, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced today.

“Despite the current risk for high water activity being low this spring, our government remains vigilant and prepared and will continue to monitor watershed conditions across the province,” said Schuler. “Our Hydrologic Forecast Centre provides accurate and timely hydrologic forecasts, and monitors river flows and lake levels daily throughout the year. We have complete confidence that our government is prepared to respond to any potential hydrologic event and ensure the safety of all Manitobans.”

Due to below normal soil moisture at freeze-up and below normal to well-below normal winter precipitation levels, the risk of major spring high water activity is low for all southern and central Manitoba basins. The risk of major spring high water activity is also low to moderate for northern Manitoba basins including the Saskatchewan and Churchill River basins.

The Hydrologic Forecast Centre also reports the Red River Floodway is not expected to be operated under normal and favourable future weather scenarios. The floodway could be operated under unfavourable weather conditions to reduce water levels within the city of Winnipeg. Minimal operation of the Portage Diversion is also expected to reduce ice related damages on the lower Assiniboine River. The Shellmouth Reservoir is currently at its optimal level to meet water supply needs, while also providing enough storage for spring high water protection.

“In continued efforts to strengthen our preparedness for hydrologic events, Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization (EMO) will be organizing a series of spring conditions seminars designed for local authorities and emergency services personnel with the latest forecast on water levels for the major water systems in the province,” added Schuler.

The virtual sessions will take place over three days:
• Monday, March 8 – 9 to 11 a.m. for the Red River Valley and tributaries;
• Tuesday, March 9 – 9 to 11 a.m. for the Assiniboine and Souris rivers and tributaries, Central Manitoba; and
• Wednesday, March 10 – 9 to 11 a.m. for the Red River north of Winnipeg, Interlake and northern Manitoba.

The Hydrologic Forecast Centre plans to release a second spring thaw outlook in late March, the minister noted. At that time, forecasters will have a more focused assessment of the current conditions and will update the forecast at that time.

The 2021 spring thaw outlook report is available at: https://www.gov.mb.ca/mit/floodinfo/pdf/2021/february_2021_high_water_outlook_report.pdf.

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