Weather-weary Manitoba braces for more rain as cleanup from flash flooding continues

·2 min read

WINNIPEG — Manitoba is preparing for more rain as the province cleans up from flash floods and other destruction caused by an extremely wet spring.

“All of southern Manitoba is very much in the fight at the moment," Johanu Botha with Manitoba’s Emergency Management Organization said Wednesday.

Manitoba has been dealing with high water for weeks. Provincial data indicates most of the southern and central water basins have received more than 150 per cent of normal precipitation since April 1.

Almost 40 municipalities and 10 northern communities are getting provincial support.

About 2,500 Manitobans have left their homes across the south. Botha said they will have to stay away until the water recedes and structures are deemed safe.

Culverts, roads and bridges have been damaged.

The situation was made worse last weekend in the west by heavy rains that led to damaging flash floods.

Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk said he was told flooding was happening on all sides and was "like a tsunami."

Fast-moving waters seriously damaged five bridges, Piwniuk added. Some have been repaired but others will take more time.

"It’s going to be a substantial amount of costs."

Fisaha Unduche, executive director of hydrologic forecasting, said water levels in most rivers and southern basins have peaked.

But, he said, another significant weather system is forecast to bring heavy rains of between 40 millimetres to 90 millimetres by Friday.

The province will be monitoring water levels. Botha said all options will be considered, including increasing outflow from the Shellmouth reservoir.

The province is also looking at whether to remove logs from the Minnedosa dam due to concerns about water pressure on the structure. Flows along the Little Saskatchewan River at the town, which has declared a local state of emergency, are at record levels.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 18, 2022.

Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press

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