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2008 flood forecast

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Fall flood forecast #3 - November 14

Predicted water levels
Heavy rains and snowfall, which fell on already saturated ground in the Red River watershed in November, has produced considerable runoff and subsequent rising river flows. The levels on the Red River will peak slightly higher and later than predicted in the last forecast which was issued on November 10. The level on the Red River at Winnipeg is currently at 8.7 feet James Avenue datum. Water levels are expected to increase to about 8.9 feet by Saturday, November 15 and stay there for two days before starting to slowly decline. The normal river level at this time is about 2.0 feet James Ave.

This forecast is based on little additional rainfall. River levels are dependent upon weather events and would increase with a rainfall over the watershed. Currently, Environment Canada Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. is predicting no significant precipitation in their forecast.

City's flood control activities
The City will monitor river levels and react accordingly. We currently have one flood pump station activated.

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Fall flood forecast #2 - November 10

Predicted water levels
Heavy rains and snowfall, which fell on already saturated ground in the Red River watershed last week, has produced considerable runoff and subsequent rising river flows. Levels on the Red River at Winnipeg are currently at 7.7 feet James Avenue datum. Water levels are expected to increase to about 8.4 feet by Wednesday, November 12. Levels are predicted to stay at 8.4 feet for three days before starting to slowly decline. The normal river level at this time is about 2.0 feet James Ave.

This forecast is based on little additional rainfall. River levels are dependent upon weather events and would increase with a rainfall over the watershed. Currently, Environment Canada Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. is predicting no significant precipitation in their forecast.

City's flood control activities
The City will monitor river levels and react accordingly. We will activate one flood pump station.

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Fall flood forecast #1 - October 17

Predicted water levels
Heavy rains in the Red River watershed over the Thanksgiving Day weekend has produced considerable runoff and subsequent rising flows in the river. Currently, the Red River at Winnipeg is at 6.9 feet James Avenue datum which is slightly above the summer river level of 6.5 feet. Normally, river levels would be starting to fall as Public Works and Government Services Canada began opening the St. Andrews Dam on October 14. Opening of the dam usually causes the river level to drop about 5 feet. However, due to increasing river flows, the level in Winnipeg is expected to stay relatively constant until October 21. After that the river will rise to a peak of about 9.1 feet James Ave. by October 27 before starting to decline.

River levels are dependent upon weather events and would increase with a significant rainfall over the watershed. Currently, Environment Canada Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. is predicting no significant precipitation in their forecast.

City's flood control activities
The City will monitor river levels and react accordingly. Should the river rise to 9.1 feet we would activate one flood pump station.

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Spring/Summer flood forecast #1 - June 17

Current and predicted water levels
Currently, the Red River is at 8.5 feet James Avenue datum. The river level is expected to crest between 9 to 10 feet by June 25. After that date, the level should recede to below 8.5 feet by June 28.

As always, river levels are dependent upon weather events and would increase with a significant rainfall over the watershed. Currently, Environment Canada Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. is predicting dry weather to the weekend except for a 30% chance of thunder showers on Wednesday and Friday.

City's flood control activities
Currently, there are three flood pump stations which have been activated and ready for operation.

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Flood forecast #3 - April 18

This will be the final flood forecast for 2008 unless conditions warrant otherwise.

Current and predicted water levels
Levels on the Red River are currently at 9.4 feet James Avenue datum. The Red River peaked at 11.4 feet James Ave. on April 15 and has been steadily declining since then. Levels are expected to continue to decline to a normal summer water level of 6.5 feet sometime next week. The Forks walkway, at 8.5 feet, should be exposed over the weekend.

As always, river levels are dependent upon weather events and would increase with a significant rainfall over the watershed. Currently, Environment Canada Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. is predicting favourable weather.

City's flood control activities
Presently, there are 64 flood control gates in operation and four flood pump stations are activated and ready for operation if required. Flood control activities will be adjusted with the declining river levels. The Floodway was not operated this spring.

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Flood forecast #2 - April 15

Current and predicted water levels
Spring runoff is well underway in the Red River watershed. Levels on the Red River are currently at 11.5 feet James Avenue datum, which is now the predicted peak level. The level could rise about 0.5 feet if the ice cover currently on the Assiniboine River breaks up suddenly, but this is not likely. Levels are expected to remain stable for the next one to two days and then start to decline.

As always, river levels are dependent upon weather events and would increase with a significant rainfall over the watershed. Currently, Environment Canada Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. is predicting a 30% chance of showers on Wednesday with no further precipitation through to Saturday.

City's flood control activities
Presently, there are 85 flood control gates checked and operational and six flood pumping stations have been activated and ready for operation. External agencies potentially affected by the high water levels have been advised to initiate private flood control measures. The Floodway has not been operated this spring.

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Flood forecast #1 - April 9

Current and predicted water levels
Spring runoff is well underway in the Red River watershed. Levels on the Red River will continue to rise at a slow but steady rate over the next few days. Currently the Red River is at 5.6 feet James Avenue datum. The predicted peak water level has been downgraded from the Province's March Outlook due to below average precipitation and favourable melting conditions occurring since then. The peak water level at James Ave. is now forecast to occur about April 22 with a predicted peak of between 12 - 15 feet James Ave. Over the next few days, the Red River is expected to rise at a rate of 0.8 feet per day.

Actual river levels are dependent upon weather events and would increase with a significant rainfall over the watershed. Currently, Environment Canada Icon indicating a link that will open up a new browser window and take you to a Web site outside of the City of Winnipeg's Web site. Close the new window to return to this page. is predicting a 30 to 40% chance of showers Thursday through Saturday.

City's flood control activities
Presently, there are 20 flood control gates checked and operational. Sandbags have been produced but delivery to residents may not be required this spring. Residents who require sandbags to manage local drainage concerns may pick them up from either of the two distribution centres located across the city. External agencies potentially affected by the high water are being advised to initiate private flood control measures. Floodway operation is not expected this spring.

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Flood outlook #2 - March 25
Manitoba Water Stewardship has issued the second flood outlook indicating the flood potential across Manitoba for the spring of 2008. The flood outlook at this time is preliminary and is based on soil moisture analysis and the water content in the snow pack within the Red River watershed. Flood forecasts based on actual runoff conditions and river flows will be issued once spring melt actually begins.

Summary of Provincial flood outlook for the Winnipeg area
A below average potential for flooding is predicted for the Red River. However, the spring flood potential is still very dependent on weather conditions. The amount of additional precipitation and the rapidity of snowmelt this spring could have a significant impact on river levels. Currently, soil moisture conditions and snow cover conditions in southern Manitoba are below average.

With average weather, the Red River is expected to crest in Winnipeg at 15.0 feet James. With unfavourable weather conditions (1 in 10 chance) between now and May, the Red River would be expected to crest at 17.3 feet James. Serious ice jamming appears unlikely due to predicted average river flow conditions.

City's flood control plan
In preparation for the potential flood, the Water and Waste and Public Works Departments have developed a flood control plan for a spring flood peak of 17.5 feet James. A flood of this magnitude would require the activation of 22 flood pumping stations and 150 sewer control gates as well as setting up 15 temporary pump locations. Sandbagging to protect from river flooding, at a limited number of homes within Winnipeg, would also be required. As in past years, stockpiled sandbags at selected sites will also be available for the public to pick up to protect their homes from overland flooding.

The City's flood control plan is based on the Province's March flood outlook. The actual event will be influenced by highly variable factors and as such the City's plan will be revised as more precise flood forecasts become available.

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Preliminary flood outlook - February 22
Manitoba Water Stewardship has issued the first long range flood outlook indicating the flood potential across Manitoba for the spring of 2008. The flood outlook at this time is preliminary and is based on soil moisture analysis and the water content in the snow pack within the Red River watershed. A second flood outlook in late March is expected and will provide a better determination of the 2008 spring flood potential.

Summary of provincial flood outlook for the Winnipeg area
A below average potential for flooding exists on the Red River. However, the spring flood potential is still very dependent on weather conditions from now until the end of May. Currently soil moisture conditions and snow cover conditions in southern Manitoba are below average.

With average weather, the Red River is expected to crest in Winnipeg at 15.5 feet James. With unfavourable weather conditions (1 in 10 chance) between now and May, the Red River would be expected to crest at 18.0 feet James. Serious ice jamming appears unlikely due to predicted average river flow conditions.

City's flood control plan
In preparation for the potential flood, the Water and Waste and Public Works Departments have developed a flood control plan for a spring flood peak of 18.0 feet James. A flood of this magnitude would require the activation of 22 flood pumping stations and 157 sewer control gates as well as setting up 15 temporary pump locations. Sandbagging to protect from river flooding would also be required at a limited number of homes within Winnipeg. As in past years, stockpiled sandbags at selected sites will also be available for the public to pick up to protect their homes from overland flooding.

The City's flood control plan is based on the February preliminary flood outlook. The actual event will be influenced by highly variable factors and as such the City's plan will be revised as more precise flood forecasts become available.

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Recent Winnipeg flood history

Year Date Peak Red River Spring flood levels (in feet James Avenue datum) Date Peak Red River Summer flood levels (in feet James Avenue datum)
2007 April 11 17.9 June 29 16.1
2006 April 7 20.4 no summer flood
2005 April 7 19.2 July 3 - 4 20.1
2004 April 4 19.0 June 9 15.3
2003 no spring flood no summer flood
2002 no spring flood June 15 17.3
2001 April 7 18.5 no summer flood
2000 no spring flood July 8 - 9 15.6
1999 April 10 17.4 no summer flood
1998 March 31 17.2 no summer flood
1997 May 3 24.5 no summer flood
1996 April 28 19.4 no summer flood
1995 March 28 17.9 no summer flood

Only peaks over 15 feet James Avenue datum are shown.
As reference, normal summer river level is 6.5 feet. River walkway level is 8.5 feet.
Source: Diking Commissioner's Reports

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This page was last updated on April 24, 2017