The Mayor for Ritchot cautions that there are still many variables that could either strengthen or lessen the chances for significant flooding this spring.
In its latest flood update from Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure's Hydrologic Forecast Centre, the province is calling for a major risk of flooding along the Red River. The risk of flooding is low to moderate in most Manitoba basins.
At this time, the centre advises that due to recent precipitation events south of the border in the United States, the flood risk has increased to major on the Red River. Under the normal and unfavourable weather scenarios, the Red River is forecast to exceed bank full capacity from Emerson to Morris.
The province's practice is to plan and prepare for the unfavourable future weather condition scenario, which is a weather scenario that would have a 1-in-10 chance of occurring from now until the spring run-off. Under that scenario, levels on the main stem of the Red River would be similar to 2020 from Emerson to Red River Floodway Inlet. Even under an unfavourable scenario, community dikes and individual flood protection works are higher than predicted peak levels.
Ritchot Mayor Chris Ewen says it could be two to four weeks yet before they really start to see how things will play out in his municipality. And, between now and then, there are many variables that could change the flood forecast including how fast or slow the snow melts, how much water the ground is able to soak up, how well the water is draining and of course, the weather.
"There are so many variables and so many opportunities that can make or break a situation," he explains. "And we just have to keep paying attention to all of them."
Even though it has been a slow start to spring, Ewen says his Public Works team is out there cleaning ditches and drains. He notes there is about 25 to 35 per cent of the cleanup still needed to be completed from last year's flood event. Right now, they are also working with Ritchot's Emergency Coordinator to ensure that they are communicating the same message as what is coming from the province.
'So that when our residents call or they get questions at the administrative level, that we have as many answers as we can give them," adds Ewen.
Under normal weather conditions, flooding along the Red River is expected to reach 2019 levels. Ewen says that year there were a couple of homes that were evacuated because of low roads in the municipality. He adds they also built up some road dikes in the St. Adolphe area.
Meanwhile, Ewen says right now they are not concerned about flooding, noting they have a great team in the municipality that is more than capable of handling whatever scenario may play out. He adds preparing for flooding is also almost an annual task in Ritchot and not something new to them. His message to residents, particularly newcomers is to communicate with the municipality if they have any questions or concerns and not to panic.
"It could be a minor flood, it could be a major flood but as long as you're prepared and you are in communication with your municipality you really have nothing to worry about," adds Ewen.