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Colder temperatures have helped ease the threat of flooding but residents are taking nothing for granted and are preparing for the worst as flood waters threaten homes and businesses in Medicine Hat, Alta., Thursday, April 14, 2011. David Stickel, an employee of Saamis Funeral Home, was busy sand bagging the perimeter of the business. Much of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan is under flood watch warnings. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)
Colder temperatures have helped ease the threat of flooding but residents are taking nothing for granted and are preparing for the worst as flood waters threaten homes and businesses in Medicine Hat, Alta., Thursday, April 14, 2011. David Stickel, an employee of Saamis Funeral Home, was busy sand bagging the perimeter of the business. Much of southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan is under flood watch warnings. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Cool weather slows flood tap in Sask., but ice jam sends surge to Winnipeg Add to ...

Freshly fallen snow has added to the runoff that's swelling rivers in southern Saskatchewan, but provincial officials say the colder weather is slowing down the spring thaw.

John Falhman with the Saskatchewan Watershed Authority in Moose Jaw says some parts of southeastern Saskatchewan received up to 10 centimetres of snow overnight Friday.

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But he says it will make the peaks only slightly higher in rivers, and he says the drop in temperature will likely alleviate water flows until sometime later next week.

Right now, the province is closely watching lakes and rivers along the Qu'Appelle River south of Lumsden.

The Qu'Appelle River empties into the Assiniboine River system, where Manitoba officials are also closely watching the situation.

An ice jam in the Assiniboine was expected to cause a surge of water through Winnipeg on Saturday, but city officials believe they are well-prepared to deal with the extra flow.

More than two dozen rural municipalities in Manitoba, and ten communities in Saskatchewan, have declared states of emergency to deal with flooding so far this spring.

"That number could well rise in coming days," said Saskatchewan's deputy fire commissioner Colin King about the number in his province.

There was continued concern Saturday that water from the Qu'Appelle River at Lumsden would run across Highway 11, which is the main thoroughfare between Regina and Saskatoon.

By Saturday afternoon, it was only a few centimetres away from the top of the south-bound section of the highway.

The Moose Jaw River, which had been expected to rise again over the weekend, appeared to have crested Saturday but officials anticipated it would be a long, slow crest that could take days to subside.

Low-lying areas in Moose Jaw, Sask. were briefly under threat last week when an ice jam caused the river to rise, but it broke up and the water dropped.

Mr. Fahlman and Mr. King both say flooding could continue for the rest of the month.

Mr. King says it's only the southern part of the province that's feeling the brunt of the thaw now, and that it will move north later this month.

Mr. Fahlman notes the snowpack in the Cypress Hills region in southwestern Saskatchewan has barely begun to melt.

That snow in Cypress Hills also poses a flood threat to southern Alberta, which suffered intense flooding last year.

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