Officials in Manitoba now say a 2009 size flood is possible for the Red River Valley.

Fisaha Unduche with Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure provided an update Friday afternoon on the current and projected flood situation in our province. Unduche says the new projections are the result of the two Colorado Lows that have hit our region in recent weeks, plus the Colorado Low which is expected this weekend.

According to Unduche, southern Manitoba basins could receive anywhere from 30 to 80 millimetres of rain this weekend, while Fargo could get up to 90 millimetres.

"Because of this, we just issued a flood watch for most southern Manitoba basins," he adds.

Flood forecasters have announced the overland flood warning has been expanded to encompass more areas of southern Manitoba. Image courtesy Province of Manitoba.

A flood warning remains for the Red River from Emerson to the Red River Floodway Inlet, and the La Salle River. A flood watch has been issued for the Roseau River and a flood watch remains for all Red River tributaries. A high water advisory remains for the Whiteshell lakes area, as levels on most lakes continue to rise due to the recent rain and snowmelt.

Flood watches have been issued for portions of southern and central Manitoba due to the risk of overland flooding in these areas as the result of the forecast rain. Most ditches and waterways are either full or near their capacity. Heavy rain occurring in a short period in saturated soils could create overland flooding.

Water levels on the Red, Assiniboine and many other rivers are increasing. The rate of increase in the Red River basin and streams in south central Manitoba has slowed when compared to the rapid water level rise seen at many locations earlier in the week. Rivers and tributaries in areas that still have snow accumulations should expect rapid increases in water levels as runoff from snowmelt picks up. This weekend’s precipitation will cause further water level increases.

Unduche says between April 1st and 28th, Manitoba basins received anywhere from 40 to 140 millimetres of precipitation. That puts southern Manitoba at 200 to 500 per cent of normal. He notes a normal amount of precipitation for that time period is 28 millimetres, while the basin average was 80 millimetres. Unduche says the April precipitation so far this year is the highest since 1950. Further to that, the likelihood of receiving as much rain in April as what fell last weekend in Winnipeg is about one in 87 years.

The province now expects the Red River will crest in Emerson between May 7th and 9th and at the Red River Floodway Inlet around May 14th.

Meanwhile, Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Doyle Piwniuk says as of Friday afternoon, six Manitoba municipalities have declared a State of Local Emergency. However, he notes that because so many homes and communities have ring dikes, most evacuations that will take place will not be due to flooded basements, but rather because of loss of road access. Piwniuk says anybody that needs assistance during the flood should contact their rural municipality.

Piwniuk says there is a chance they will put a detour in place, starting Friday evening for traffic wanting to head south down Highway 75 into Morris. Highway 75 traffic will be detoured onto PR 205 at Aubigny, along PR 246 to PTH 23 at Morris and back onto Highway 75. He notes the south dike at Morris will remain open for the time being, though he anticipates it too will most likely close at some point in the coming days.