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Southern Manitoba remains at moderate to major risk of flooding: forecasters

Volunteers help sandbag in St. Francois Xavier, Man., on July 8, 2014. Forecasters say the latest data shows southern Manitoba remains at moderate to major risk of spring flooding.

JOHN WOODS/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Forecasters say the latest data shows southern Manitoba remains at moderate to major risk of spring flooding.

Officials say the danger of flooding is down slightly from last month, but much will depend on the weather in the coming weeks.

Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen says the area of biggest concern is along the Souris River in the southwest.

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He says favourable weather has reduced the risk in the Red River basin, which includes Winnipeg.

Pedersen says the chance of Highway 75 from Winnipeg to the U.S. border being closed is low.

He says the province is ready to activate major flood defences such as the Red River Floodway and the Portage Diversion if the weather turns bad.

Pedersen says the province is working closely with municipalities to ensure they are ready in the event of major flooding.

"We want to make sure the lines of communication between our government, local municipalities and emergency officials are open and effective," Pedersen said Friday.

"As we approach the spring melt, our number one concern remains the safety of all communities and Manitobans."

He said the province will provide daily flood information to municipalities once runoff starts so communities can fine-tune their flood preparations.

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Parts of Manitoba were hit by major floods in 2014 and 2011 that caused extensive damage and forced people from their homes.

Spring flooding has become almost an annual event in Manitoba, where meltwater rushes in from as far away as South Dakota and the Rockies.

In many years, some farmland is underwater briefly while towns and cities remain dry.

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