Manitoba farmers unfazed by flood reports

A submerged bridge over the Red River in 2011. (IanChrisGraham/iStock/Getty Images)

MarketsFarm — As experts forecast a spring flood to hit southern Manitoba, farmers in the Red River Valley won’t be caught off guard.

Manitoba’s Emergency Measures Organization held flood preparedness seminars in Morris, Brandon, and Selkirk throughout the week of March 11. Topics covered included the forecast, flood outlook, preparedness and response and disaster financial assistance.

Though Manitoba hasn’t had a particularly snowy winter season, southern neighbours North Dakota and Minnesota have received nearly twice as much precipitation as normal, significantly impacting the expected flows on the Red River.

“March remains a crucial month in terms of snowmelt and weather conditions, and how that will affect the flood forecast going forward,” said Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler in a press release from the province.

“We expect to update Manitobans with more information as updated forecast data becomes available.”

If spring showers bring unfavourably wet weather and rapid snowmelt, farmers from Emerson to the Red River Floodway inlet, and in areas surrounding the Red’s tributaries such as the La Salle, Rat and Morris rivers, will face extreme flooding.

Kevin Stott, a director at Keystone Agricultural Producers, expects farmland will be impacted by floodwater, but inventory should remain dry.

Some inventory might be moved earlier than planned, not because it will get wet, but because of possible road closures. However, since more flood mitigation was built after 1997, today’s farmers are less worried about floodwater.

“Most of us don’t have a fear of having water in our bins or yards,” said Stott.

“With communications and forecasts and everything we have these days, I feel far more comfortable going into floods than we have in years past, for sure better than my father in 1950,” he added.

The province is expected to release its March flood report in the coming weeks.

— Marlo Glass writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.


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