Flood warning on the Red River continues for communities between St. Jean and Morris

Some communities south of Winnipeg remain under a flood warning as the Red River spills its banks.

While no significant issues are expected, the province said there is a risk of moderate flooding this year, and officials are now preparing to respond to issues as they arise.

In the RM of Montcalm, the Red River has risen above its banks. Because of that, the province issued a flood warning in the area between Morris and St. Jean, where municipal councilor Paul Sabourin said officials are well prepared for whatever comes their way.

“A flood warning to us indicates we have to take all our precautions and be ready,” said Sabourin. “And that’s what put us on higher alert for equipment and to assess the situation closer.”

Despite one of the snowiest winters on record and precipitation over the past week, the province is only expecting moderate river flooding this spring due to the gradual melt.

In St. Jean, provincial data indicates the Red River is predicted to crest at around 775 feet sometime over the next week, well below the level of the community’s dike which is built up to 788 feet.

Wayne Klassen, chair of the St. Jean local urban district, said that dike is what keeps the community safe from flooding.

“You have instances where it could catch you off guard a little bit but in general you have time to prepare and we have the infrastructure in place to deal with it,” Klassen said. “We’re in good shape. But always watching it. Always watching it.”

Morris Mayor Scott Crick isn’t expecting any major issues from flooding in his community and anticipates Highway 75 will remain open. The latest assessment from the province indicates, based on the current forecast, the major road won’t close.

In the RM of Ritchot, Mayor Chris Ewen told CTV News there’s a potential seven homes may have to be evacuated due to road access issues but he said that’s pretty standard for the area.

Farther south, the latest provincial flood report issued Apr. 7 indicates the flood peak has passed in both Emerson and Letellier and is approaching St. Jean.

Despite being protected from river flooding, Klassen still expects a risk of some localized flooding.

“Definitely subject to some local overland flooding because you have plugged culverts, plugged drains,” he said. “There’s still snow kicking around and so that interferes with runoff.”

Sabourin isn’t expecting any evacuations in his RM He said the biggest issues from flooding in the Montcalm municipality are damaged roads, ditches and culverts.

Nothing like the flood of the century 25 years ago.

“We hope to never see that again but I think there was a lot of valuable lessons learned in that situation,” Sabourin said. “I think we all came out of it more prepared for any big flood event like that.”

A flood warning has also been issued in the vicinity of Selkirk due to ice jamming. Provincial Road 204 remains closed in that area due to an ice jam on the Red River.

In the Apr.7 flood report, the province indicates the Red River Floodway could be activated this coming weekend depending on when ice upstream of the floodway inlet is broken up and cleared.

The crest in Winnipeg is expected sometime between April 10 and 16 at levels up to around 18 feet at the James Avenue gauge.

The city has said 16 properties have been identified as being at risk of flooding.

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