The Mayor for Ritchot says it is still too early to fear major flooding this spring in the Red River Valley. And, Chris Ewen says that was the vibe at a flood preparedness seminar Monday in Morris, hosted by Manitoba Emergency Measures Organization.
Ewen says based on the information coming from the province and from the Americans, it appears flooding is quite likely this spring. He notes about 100 people attended Monday's meeting and organizers said they normally get numbers like that only when there is a real threat of flooding.
This was the first time Ewen attended this seminar since being elected Mayor in July of 2017.
"It was interesting," he says. "It's great to know what the province's concerns are and what the levels look like they could become, depending on the weather."
Yet, he says there just wasn't enough information to warrant any sort of flood preparations at this point. Ewen notes officials were using projections from their flood outlook issued in late February.
"I think we still have a couple more weeks to play out the weather to see exactly what's going to be happening with flood levels if any," he says.
The Mayor says for now it is business as usual. He notes each year they get together with their Emergency Coordinator, Emergency Measures Organization, administration and council to plan what, if anything, needs to be done. This includes establishing a location for the Emergency Operations Centre and finalizing what actions they need to start preparing for.
"But again, it's very premature," he says. "We don't want anyone to get worried about it, we're going to wait for another forecast to come about and then we'll start planning if there needs to be flood preparedness."
According to Ewen, the province has indicated that the next flood forecast will be issued within the next two weeks. He says after that, the province has hinted that it would like to host another seminar.
"There's too many variables right now to say that we're getting this and this is how much (water) we're going to be getting," says Ewen.
"I can't stress enough that as long as the municipality is doing their due diligence and continually being ready for any kind of natural disaster that they would be prone to, then we're on the right foot, we don't have much to worry about," says Ewen.
With normal weather conditions, levels on the Red River south of the Floodway are expected to rise to what they were in 2011. That year in Ritchot, there was water running across St. Mary's Road north of St. Adolphe and voluntary evacuations impacting about 140 people.