Posted by: Vicki Burns | April 13, 2011

Spring Floods Across Manitoba, Saskatchewan and North Dakota – Road Closures Paint a Striking Picture

image of house surrounded by flood waters

Flooding in Manitoba

Many of us who live on the Prairies have been watching the rising waters on our creeks and rivers with great trepidation. Some of the flooding concerns were starting  a month ago in southern Alberta with an early and fast spring melt as well as a snow pack that was 2 ½ times the highest ever recorded in Medicine Hat. The waters are now travelling east across Saskatchewan and north up through North Dakota and into Manitoba.
Today I spoke to staff from the Red River Basin Commission in Fargo who reported that the Red River has crested in that city a few days ago and fortunately it seems that the flood mitigation measures have been successful preventing any significant damage within the urban setting. However it’s a different story out on the landscape with many farms completely flooded and numerous roads closed. The major Interstate Highway I-29 linking Fargo with communities to the north, including Winnipeg has been closed for about 30 miles. In Canada, the major national highway, the TransCanada, has been closed between Regina and Grenfell. There are numerous roads within Manitoba that are closed due to flooding. Check out this map to get an idea of how widespread it is.
All these road closures prompted me to think about what we have been able to do in terms of mitigating negative effects of floods and more importantly, what we cannot do. The road closures create a picture of miles of land underwater and the next image is what runs off that land with the flood water. The runoff will be loaded with phosphorus and nitrogen that are the major culprits in the blooming of blue-green algae in our lakes. So, I’m grateful that we have been able to decrease the suffering of many people during this flood event but our lakes will certainly bear the consequences.

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