Flood forecasters are watching closely as Manitoba expects to receive more rain over the next few days

Flood forecasters in Manitoba say they are closely watching a series of precipitation systems that could bring 40 to 60 millimeters of rain to much of the province over the next five to seven days.

There’s also a good chance some areas will receive more than 60 millimeters of rain, the province said in a flood bulletin Saturday afternoon.

Manitoba’s hydrological forecast center will update its water level forecast to determine the effect any rainfall will have on already flooded areas, the bulletin said.

Current forecasts suggest that southern and central Manitoba will experience strong southerly winds later Saturday and overnight with gusts of up to 80 km/h.

That could raise water levels in flooded areas of the Red River Valley south of Winnipeg – from Letellier to Rosenort – by up to six inches.

Waves could also add to the temporary rise in water levels, which could result in water temporarily covering roads, according to the flood bulletin.

Twenty-six Manitoba communities have now declared local states of emergency, the bulletin said, while four municipal emergency operations centers have been activated.

Rivers near the ridge

The Red River is near the ridge at Emerson, while the Fisher River is near the ridge at Peguis First Nation and Fisher River Cree Nation — both declared states of emergency this week.

But flooding continues in the Interlake, the Red River Valley and many other parts of central and southern Manitoba, according to the bulletin.

However, these floods are now more concentrated around rivers, streams and drains that are above capacity as water moves through the system.

People who live in these areas should keep an eye on local conditions and take whatever steps are necessary to mitigate flooding, the province said.

The floodway, along with the Portage diversion, is still operating to lower water levels in Winnipeg.

Water levels continue to rise in the Red River Valley, with peak levels expected to be similar to 2009 levels at Emerson, and slightly lower – between 2011 and 2009 levels – from Letellier to entrance to the Red River Floodway.

The 2009 Red River flood was the third worst since Manitoba was founded. The river’s peak flow just south of Winnipeg that spring was 97,000 cubic feet per second.

Flow in the floodway channel was close to 40,000 cubic feet per second Saturday morning, according to the bulletin, while flows upstream of the floodway inlet were around 79,000.

But water levels are expected to remain high for some time in many parts of southern and central Manitoba, according to the bulletin.

Highway 75 – the main route from Winnipeg to the United States – remains closed north and south of the town of Morris, with diversions in place. Details of highway closures in Manitoba are available on the province’s website.

Several warnings and flood advisories are in effect:

  • A flood warning remains in effect for the Rouge River from Emerson to the entrance to the Rouge River Floodway and from the outlet of the Rouge River Floodway to Lake Winnipeg.
  • A flood warning remains in effect for La Salle near the Sanford, Pembina, Boyne, Morris and Little Morris rivers and Deadhorse, Shannon and Netley creeks. All other Red River tributaries remain under flood watch.
  • A flood warning remains in effect for the Fisher and Icelandic rivers.
  • A flood warning remains in effect for the Assiniboine River from Shellmouth Dam to Brandon.
  • A flood warning remains in effect for the Whiteshell Lakes area.
  • A flood warning remains in effect for the Whitemouth and Birch rivers. A flood watch is issued for the Rat River and remains in place for the Roseau River.
  • A flood watch remains in effect for the Whitemud River.
  • A high water advisory is issued for streams in the Parkland area draining from the Duck and Riding Mountains due to rapidly increasing flows and water levels.