Province upgrades overland flood watch to warning for parts of southern Manitoba

An overland flood watch has been upgraded to a warning for parts of southern Manitoba as more rain is about to hit the saturated province, where dozens of communities are already dealing with flood emergencies.

Much of the south saw 20-40 millimetres of rain earlier this week and provincial forecasters are monitoring a system arriving on Thursday that could bring an additional 20-40 mm over the next three days, with much of it coming Friday, the government said in a flood bulletin.

Some smaller areas could receive more than 40 mm as heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected, Environment Canada said.

Manitoba’s hydrologic forecast centre issued an overland flood watch on Monday for the southern and central areas, which have been soaked by runoff from one of the snowiest winters on record and pummelled by stretches of rain during a wet spring.

Some Manitoba communities are already dealing with major flooding, while elsewhere, most ditches and waterways are near capacity or already filled and overflowing.

A map shows the areas under overland flood watches and warnings in Manitoba. (Government of Manitoba)

The upgrade to an overland flood warning affects a portion of the southwest as well as the southeast corner.

The watch remains in effect elsewhere in southern and central Manitoba, while a flood warning has been issued for Dauphin Lake.

A warning indicates a higher probability of flooding occurring based on forecast precipitation, whereas a watch indicates flooding is possible but not as likely to occur, the government said in its bulletin.

Flooding is ongoing in the Interlake, Red River Valley and many other parts of central and southern Manitoba.

The high water has washed away culverts and roads in some areas, flooded properties and damaged infrastructure. So far, 28 states of local emergency have been declared in communities across the province.

Flood warnings remain in place for most parts of the Red River north of Emerson (except Winnipeg), the Pembina, Morris and Little Morris rivers, the Shannon and Netley creeks, Fisher and Icelandic rivers, the Assiniboine River from the Shellmouth Dam to Brandon, Birdtail Creek, the Whiteshell lakes area and the Whitemouth and Birch rivers.

A complete list of flood warnings, watches and high water advisories is available in the daily flood reports found online on the province’s website.

The Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion continue to operate to lower water levels in Winnipeg.

A spokesperson for the City of Winnipeg told CBC News in an email that “crews stand ready to respond to the forecasted heavy rainfall” by monitoring pumping and lift stations and operating the sewer system and drainage network to move water as efficiently as possible.

They are also prepared to clear ditches, catch basins and culverts as required, the email said.

Winnipeggers could face basement and overland flooding during heavy rainfall and are urged to take precautions before the rain starts.

Tips for homeowners are available on the city’s website.

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