March 29, 2019
Released: 9:20 a.m.
Winnipeg, MB – In a news release issued on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, the Province of Manitoba forecasted that, with favourable weather, slightly less than 2009 flood levels on the Red River could be expected. With unfavourable weather and with the use of the floodway, water levels at the James Avenue gauge could reach 20.5 feet.
At this time, the City of Winnipeg has identified 123 properties that may be at risk of river flooding and may require dikes. The City is hand-delivering notices to affected property owners and will be surveying each of the identified properties to determine the location of potential dikes. The City will provide further instructions directly to property owners who may, at some point, be required to build a dike. If a property owner has not heard from the City and believes their property is at risk of river flooding, they can contact 311.
The City is not putting a call for volunteers to assist property owners with sandbagging efforts at this time.
City employees have been working on annual spring flood preparations for several weeks. The City is continually reviewing its river flood protection measures and activities, which includes monitoring river levels, making preparations for temporary and permanent pumping, closing river gates, sealing manholes and filling sandbags.
As of 8:50 a.m. on Friday, March 29, 2019, the river level at the James Avenue gauge was 0.74 feet. River levels are available online at City of Winnipeg – River Levels and updated in real time every 10 minutes.
The City will continue to work closely with the Province of Manitoba and will determine whether additional properties require dikes to protect against river flooding.
Basement, overland, and snowmelt flooding
Property owners should be alert to the various other types of flooding, including: basement, overland, and snowmelt.
Sandbags are available for pick-up by Winnipeg residents who need to protect their properties against overland flooding. Residents picking up sandbags for overland flooding will be required to provide photo identification to confirm their Winnipeg residency.
Winnipeg residents can now pick up sandbags for overland flooding at the following locations between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.:
Springtime thaws also increase the risk of basement flooding across the city. Homeowners are reminded to take steps to protect their homes and property against basement flooding. Although basement flooding is a risk at any time of the year, the risk increases in the spring and when river levels rise because the sewer system must rely heavily on pumping stations rather than gravity to carry the water runoff due to higher river levels.
Homeowners are reminded to take the following steps to protect their homes and property:
- To ensure maximum protection against basement flooding, arrange for a licensed plumber to install a sewer line backup valve and a sump pit with pump in the basement.
- Inspect backup valves and sump pump drainage systems to make sure they are functioning properly.
- Ensure drainage is directed away from the home by extending downspouts away from the basement walls and ensuring the earth is built up around the house.
Property owners are reminded it is against the law to drain sump pump water into the basement floor drain or any other part of the house plumbing system, as it can overtax the sewer system placing their basement and those of their neighbours at risk of flooding and damage.
Thin Ice Safety
Residents are advised that thin ice conditions are present on Winnipeg waterways, including drainage ditches, culverts, streams, creeks, retention ponds and rivers. In addition, all skating ponds and outdoor rinks are closed for the season.
Parents and teachers are urged to speak to children and students about the dangers of waterways. The ice surfaces are thin and fragile, and falling into ice-cold water can be deadly.
The public is also reminded that while the Winnipeg Police Service’s River Patrol Unit places “Danger - Thin Ice” signage at specific locations including outfalls, retention ponds, and other potentially dangerous areas, ALL ice should be considered unsafe even if warning signage is not present.
For information on thin ice safety, please visit Winnipeg Police Service – River Patrol or contact the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service – Public Education Branch.