The flood forecast was issued for the province of Manitoba yesterday (Tuesday), and it predicts a good report, especially for the Portage la Prairie area. 

Fisaha Unduche is Executive Director of Hydrology Forecasting and Water Management and explains there is a moderate to low risk of flood over the entire province. Focusing on Portage, he notes snow accumulation tracking is below normal to well-below normal.

"However, the flow comes from the Souris River, from the Qu'Appelle, from Little Saskatchewan, and from Shellmouth. That all combines and it comes to the Portage area," says Unduche. "The flow is still going to be below the bankfull capacity, but there are areas, as you move upstream, where overland flooding could occur. So, right around Portage, we don't expect any major issues. Ice is thinner than normal and that's why we are not even cutting ice this year. We will be doing operation of the Portage Diversion mainly to reduce ice jam-packed in the downstream on the river and, of course, to control our water level on the Assiniboine -- the rain that will be.  So, generally speaking, this outlook is calling for a low risk of any kind of flooding or issues around Portage."

Looking around at the entire region in southern Manitoba, he notes it is generally a moderate to low risk of flooding.

"This is because the soil moisture was below normal in most areas to near normal, except some pockets of areas where the soil moisture is above normal," continues Unduche. "That includes southern part areas near Interlake. So those areas, pockets of areas, have above-normal soil moisture. But generally speaking, all our basins from the Red to Assiniboine northern basins, soil moisture is below normal."

He notes they studied the snow accumulation since November which is our winter precipitation. 

"When you look at the snow accumulation since November, we are talking about from below normal to well-below normal snow accumulation in central and southern Manitoba, with the exception of the United States portion of the reservoir and the Souris River and northern Manitoba," explains Unduche. "All those central basins and the southern basins, because of below-normal soil moisture to near-normal soil moisture and well below normal to below-normal precipitation, the spring flooding risk is very low. But southern basins, like the Red River and the north Churchill River -- in those areas -- the spring flood risk of northern basins is still considered low because they have the reservoir capacity. But for the rate on Assiniboine mainstream and the rate of the Assiniboine in the Interlake region, the risk is moderate."

Unduche adds moderate risk in spring flooding means that the risk is still 50 per cent less chance. 

"However, there is over 10 per cent chance that the flows could exceed bankfull capacity," notes Unduche. "So, that's what we are looking at based on the condition as of today and looking at future weather. Obviously, as we go through March, we will continue to update the data and revise our forecasts when we come back in March and update the forecast. This is, obviously, much better news compared to where we were last year about this time where we were looking about major flooding everywhere in the Manitoba basins."