Province to activate Red River Floodway amid deluge

The province has issued an overland flood warning for huge area of southern Manitoba as a deluge of rain and snowfall continues. The Red River Floodway is expected to be activated on Saturday.

“Water levels on most tributaries in the Red River basin and along the Red River main stem are rising quickly in response to the rainfall and will continue to rise over the coming days,” the province said in a press release Saturday afternoon.

The flood warning stretches from the Saskatchewan border to Highway 12, and extends from the U.S. border north to Highway 1, continuing for the areas in between Highways 5 and 6.

Read more: Heavy snowfall and rain rolling into southern Manitoba over the weekend

The province advises most areas in southern Manitoba have already received up to 40 mm of precipitation A further 30 to 50 mm is expected over the weekend. Some places could receive as much as 80 mm.

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“Overland flooding occurs when water on the ground surface does not have sufficient time to flow into rivers and streams, potentially causing flooding of low-lying areas, roads and properties,” the province said.

“In most cases, once the water enters the rivers and streams, they have sufficient capacity to handle the flows.”

Additionally, the rain is projected to switch to snowfall Sunday and be accompanied by winds gusting up to 70 kilometers an hour, making for challenging driving conditions.

Read more: Summer tourist town in Riding Mountain National Park to be hit with more snow

The province is encouraging people across the region to travel only if necessary, or wait until road conditions improve.

Earlier on Saturday, Environment Canada issued rainfall warnings for all of southern Manitoba, including the city of Winnipeg.

It says the rain will change to snow beginning late in the day near the Saskatchewan border and move eastward overnight and Sunday.

Areas farther north, such as Dauphin, Hecla, Gypsumville, Berens River, and Oxford House, are either under snowfall or winter storm warnings.

While the type of precipitation can be questionable at times in some areas, one thing’s for certain, people living in Onanole say it’s felt like a never ending winter.

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Onanole Fire Department Captain, Pat Rousseau says last weekend’s storm was intense, but he’s feeling hopeful this one won’t be as bad.

“We know that spring takes its time getting here,” he says.

He’s now a retired wildlife biologist and says the late spring melt isn’t good for animals.

“This is really affecting wildlife,” he says. The rainfall earlier this week makes it easy for animals like deer to sink deep in to the snow, he says. Creating issues for some animals to get away from predators.

The late melt isn’t just affecting animals, but business owners as well.

“We need some warmer weather,” says Lavern Popple the director at Poplar Ridge Golf Course.

The late start to spring pushed back the course from opening.

“At Riding Mountain it can be a short season for all the retailers, any of the rental places and the golf courses it can be a pretty short season. This season looks like it’s going to be a little shorter.”

It opened last year in the beginning of April, but between 3-5 foot tall snow drifts this year, it means they’re just hoping to start booking tee times in mid-May.

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“Until this snow goes away from the greens we’re not going to be able to tell whether it’s hurt them or not.”

Click to play video: 'Overland flooding a risk as Manitoba braces for more snow, rain: province' Overland flooding a risk as Manitoba braces for more snow, rain: province

Overland flooding a risk as Manitoba braces for more snow, rain: province

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