Lake Manitoba update: Nov. 27, 2016

The mild weather continues and rivers continue to flow freely while lakes remain largely unfrozen. A rare bout of calm weather has given a glimpse of the real lake levels and river flows today (I have used the levels from 8:00 PM last night after the winds had been calm all afternoon). Lake Manitoba is now sitting at 812.41 feet, while inflow from the Waterhen is 9,849 cfs and outflow at Fairford is 8,578 cfs. The Whitemud has nearly stopped running with flows of just 162 cfs. Lake St. Martin continues to inch upward, currently sitting at 801.77 feet.

With the rivers unfrozen, Lake Manitoba will continue to rise until inflows and outflows equilibrate, which with current Waterhen inflows would be at roughly 812.75 feet. After freeze-up we’ll have to wait to see how much the flows decrease on both the Waterhen and Fairford Rivers to see what will happen next.

Flows on the Assiniboine continue to fall, now 4,554 cfs at Holland and 4,377 cfs at Headingly. These flows will rise modestly when the increased outflow from the Shellmouth Reservoir, which is now dropping, makes its way downstream.

River update
Time: 8:00 AM November 27, 2016
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 4,554 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 4,377 cfs
Waterhen: 9,849 cfs
Whitemud: 162 cfs
Fairford: 8,587 cfs
Lake update
Time: 8:00 AM November 27, 2016
Steep Rock: 812.39 ft
Westbourne: 812.43 ft
Mean level: 812.41 ft
Lake St. Martin: 801.77 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.73 ft


Lake Manitoba update: Nov. 20, 2016

An update with more good news. ALMS has been in regular contact with the province about high water on the lakes and we can pass along information that all reasonable steps are being taken this winter. The intention is to keep Fairford wide open which will help greatly. And the Shellmouth Reservoir, which has been filled during the fall to deal with the heavy rains, is now starting to be drawn down, which will continue over winter to create storage space for the spring runoff. These are the two key steps to manage water levels effectively on Lake Manitoba. As well, the level of Lake St. Martin is being monitored closely. The Emergency Channel can be opened over winter if the lake approaches its flood level of 803.0 feet. This requires federal approval as it can only opened under ’emergency’ conditions. Opening the Emergency Channel does not affect the level of Lake Manitoba directly, but does help the residents of Lake St. Martin.

The weather is also cooperating right now. November has been warm and dry, both of which are helpful. We are seeing record flows on the Assiniboine for this time of year, and that in fact is good not bad news. The flows are at record levels because water is still flowing. Winter is late in arriving and rivers that would normally be frozen are still open and flowing freely. And with winter late in arriving, it means there is less time for snow to accumulate before spring, and less to melt next April.

Winds continue to shift in direction, making the current estimates of lake levels and river flows in to and out of Lake Manitoba subject to rapid change. The current estimate of the level of Lake Manitoba is 812.32 feet: the real level of the lake is probably in the range of 812.3 to 812.4 feet, below the top end of the operating range of 812.5 feet.

Winds have swung around to the SE this morning, which moves water north and west on the lakes. Lake Winnipegosis is sitting at 833.56 feet this morning. Its level this week has been at a record level for this time of year, and this in turn has generated very high flows on the Waterhen. Waterhen flows are 10,166 cfs this morning. When winds have been from the north and west this week, these flows have approached 11,000 cfs. The SE wind is moving water away from Fairford, causing the flow to fall to 7,625 cfs this morning. It has been well over 8,000 cfs most of the week when the winds have been from the west. The Whitemud River has almost stopped flowing, currently at 155 cfs. The level of Lake St. Martin is 801.61 feet.

Flows on the Assiniboine are falling now, registering 4,695 cfs at Holland and 4,871 cfs at Headingly. These flows will fall further, and then rise modestly when the water now being released from Shellmouth makes its way downstream in December.

River update
Time: 8:30 AM November 20, 2016
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 4,695 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 4,871 cfs
Waterhen: 10,166 cfs
Whitemud: 155 cfs
Fairford: 7,625 cfs
Lake update
Time: 8:30 AM November 20, 2016
Steep Rock: 812.17 ft
Westbourne: 812.47 ft
Mean level: 812.32 ft
Lake St. Martin: 801.61 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.56 ft

Lake Manitoba update: Nov. 13, 2016

A bit of good news. A gauge recalibration at Steep Rock and Westbourne appears to have corrected some anomalous readings in late October when the lake was registering over 812.7 feet. The correct level appears to be in the neighbourhood of 812.3 to 812.5 feet. But inflows from the Waterhen remain at an historic high for this time of year at over, now over 10,000 cfs. These flows are driven by record high levels on Lake Winnipegosis. Fairford flows remain high at 8,825 cfs and will rise with higher lake levels. With recent dry weather, inflows from the Whitemud have fallen to 222 cfs. With a combined inflow of about 10,200 cfs the lake will rise slowly toward its equilibrium level of 812.9 feet (this is where outflow will match the current inflow).

With the increased Fairford flows, Lake St. Martin is rising, currently sitting at 801.51 feet. Flood level on Lake St. Martin is 803.0 feet.

Flows on the Assiniboine are beginning to subside, now registering 5,719 at Holland and 5,930 cfs at Headingly. These are very high flows for this time of year.

NOAA has now confirmed we are now in a La Nina event, which has spawned high fall precipitation over Lake Winnipegosis and Lake Manitoba, and the Assiniboine watershed. There is a better than 50:50 chance it will persist over winter. If it does, we can expect above average precipitation in the Assiniboine and Lake Manitoba watersheds.

River update
Time: 7:00 AM November 13, 2016
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 5,719 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 5,930 cfs
Waterhen: 10,061 cfs
Whitemud: 222 cfs
Fairford: 8,825 cfs
Lake update
Time: 7:00 AM November 13, 2016
Steep Rock: 812.40 ft
Westbourne: 812.17 ft
Mean level: 812.29 ft
Lake St. Martin: 801.51 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.56 ft

An important update on ALMS activities

Week by week the news is that we are going into winter with high water levels on Lake Manitoba. So what is ALMS doing?The executive recognizes that in the years between the outlet being built and today that the Province will have to plan to use existing resources in order to protect residents from high water events.

Infrastructure minister Blaine Pedersen has demonstrated a willingness to meet with our representatives. Recent meetings and correspondence with cabinet ministers has resulted in positive action. On November 3, we learned that stop logs were being removed at Fairford increasing outflow. The Shellmouth Reservoir will release water soon to create storage capacity for Assiniboine River flow during the spring melt.

Our hope is that interprovincial discussions with Saskatchewan will result in coordination of their reservoirs to lessen water flowing into Manitoba. We expect that the Province will allow its intention to keep the Fairford water control system open over winter. Because temporary dikes have been removed by municipalities, it will be important for the province to encourage preparedness for possible high water events in the spring.

Dr. Forbes will continue to post updates. Rest assured that your Executive is ensuring that your voice and concerns are being heard by the policy makers. We remain vigilant but hopeful that these early discussions with the Province will continue to result in action that protects residents and property.

ALMS executive. 

Lake Manitoba update: Nov. 6, 2016

This week has been eventful. The past several days have seen SE winds which makes getting an accurate lake level impossible. Water moves in a NW direction and misses both gauges on the NE and SW corners of the lake. The nominal lake level is 812.34 feet but that estimate is too low. The real lake level is about 812.7 feet.

SE winds push Lake Winnipegosis water away from the Waterhen River, and the Lake Winnipegosis gauge, so both the current estimate of Waterhen flow (9,600 cfs) and Lake Winnipegosis level (833.43 feet) are also too low. Lake Winnipegosis is at a record level for this time of year; Waterhen flows are fluctuating between 9,800 and 10,000 cfs when winds are from the usual N by NW directions, are also at near record levels. This means we will be facing very high natural inflows into Lake Manitoba next April at the beginning of the spring freshet, as this water isn’t going anywhere before next spring.

Whether Lake Manitoba floods next spring will depend in large part on the Ministry of Infrastructure’s (MI) winter operations decision for the Fairford Water Control Structure. If they reduce outflows to prevent the formation of frazil ice on the Dauphin River, flooding on Lake Manitoba next spring becomes highly likely (ALMS has communicated to MI the need to keep Fairford wide open this winter). In 2010, reducing outflow through Fairford resulted in Lake Manitoba rising roughly a foot between November and February. If the same happens this winter, that would leave Lake Manitoba at around 813.7 feet, just 3/10ths of a foot below flood level. Even in a dry year, Lake Manitoba normally rises 4 to 8 inches during the spring freshet – 8 to 18 inches is normal; in 2014 it was 34″; in 2011 it was 54″. Any of these would put the lake over flood level if the lake reaches 813.7 feet before spring.

Now the good news. On Thursday, ALMS received a report that stoplogs were being removed from the Fairford Water Control Structure. That afternoon, outflow through Fairford rose markedly (by about 20%). This is very puzzling, as ALMS had been assured that Fairford was wide open: it clearly was not. Currently the outflow at Fairford is 8,825 cfs. This is good news, as it will slow the rise in the level of Lake Manitoba. At a Waterhen inflow of 9,800 cfs, the equilibrium level of Lake Manitoba is 812.7 feet (that’s where outflow should equal inflow – when the winds shift to a west by northwest direction we should see outflow at Fairford rise to that level. It is key to keep Lake Manitoba below 813.0 feet this winter if we are to avoid flooding next year.

Conditions on the Assiniboine are taking a bad turn for this time of year. Flows now are higher than they were in at the same time in 2010, and this is happening when some of the flow is being siphoned off this week into the Shellmouth Reservoir (the reservoir is currently rising which reduces the flow on the Assiniboine downstream). Assiniboine flows were lower in 2010 at this time and the level of the Shellmouth Reservoir was falling. This is not a good omen for next spring. There is a lot of water in the Assiniboine system.

River update
Time: 3:00 PM November 6, 2016
Portage Diversion: closed
Assiniboine at Holland: 7,201 cfs
Assiniboine at Headingly: 7,166 cfs
Waterhen: 9,602 cfs
Whitemud: 335 cfs
Fairford: 8,825 cfs
Lake update
Time: 3:00 PM November 6, 2016
Steep Rock: 812.43 ft
Westbourne: 813.24 ft
Mean level: 812.34 ft
Lake St. Martin: 801.05 ft
Lake Winnipegosis: 833.43 ft

Fire and Tragedy Strikes Delta Family

Reposted from Delta Beach Website:

Very sorry to shares the news that a house fire at the Cyr family home on Cherry avenue this morning took the life of their  4 year old son, Landon. News reports indicated that Merle, Melissa, and their three other children are safe. 

On behalf of everyone at Delta Beach, our heartfelt condolences go out to the Cyr family.

A gofund me page has been set up to help raise money for the family. If you are interested in supporting, please click Here