Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba Says Risk of Floods This Year Less Than in 2011

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Manitoba Says Risk of Floods This Year Less Than in 2011

Article excerpt

Manitoba forecasts less risk of floods than 2011

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WINNIPEG - Most Manitobans should be able to breathe easy this year as the province gears up for its annual fight against flooding.

The provincial government says low soil moisture levels mean there is only a small risk of substantial flooding along major riverways.

Even if bad storms develop, "our outlook at the moment does not call for major or record flooding," Phillip Mutulu, chief flood forecaster, said Wednesday in the first outlook of the year.

As usual, much depends on the weather over the next several weeks: how quickly the snow melts, whether major dumps of snow or rain occur at the same time as the melt and whether unpredictable ice jams develop.

Flood preparations are an annual ritual in Manitoba, where melt water comes from as far away as Alberta and South Dakota. In 2011 -- one of the worst years on record -- thousands of people were forced from swamped houses and cottages along the Assiniboine River, Lake Manitoba and Lake St. Martin. Many First Nations residents have not returned to their homes.

The cost of flood-fighting, repairs and compensation reached $1.2 billion.

Last year was an entirely different story as low snowfall and nice weather made flooding a non-event. …

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