Red River flooding to crest this week

Mon May 2, 2011 4:55pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - A weekend storm that brought snow, rain and strong winds to the already flooded Red River Valley created large waves but did not inflict major damage on flood defenses in the Canadian province of Manitoba.

The Red River is expected to peak in the provincial capital Winnipeg on Wednesday or Thursday at levels slightly below those of 2009 and 2006, and well off the record high of 1997, the Manitoba government said on Monday.

The Assiniboine River, which runs west to east and joins the northbound Red in Winnipeg, is already at its highest level in 88 years,

Late-melting snow on saturated ground in the northern U.S. Plains states and in the Canadian Prairies has created the largest area affected by flooding in Manitoba's history.

The flooding has forced 1,900 people from their homes in the province -- mostly because of cut-off roads -- and delayed crop planting for farmers.

The weekend storm temporarily raised water levels mainly because of wind, not precipitation, the provincial government said.

Movement of grain on rail lines affected by flooding in the Red River Valley should return to normal over the next two weeks, the Canadian Wheat Board said on Monday.

Canadian Pacific Railway restored some service on its Winnipeg to Emerson, Manitoba, line on Sunday, the Wheat Board said.   Continued...