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Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Premier Greg Selinger is joined by (L-R) Mayor Steve Strang
of St. Clements, Mayor Larry Johannson of Selkirk,Greg Dewar, MLA for Selkirk,
Mayor Don Forfar of St. Andrews, Infrastructure and Transportation Minister
Steve Ashton, and Peter Bjornson, MLA for Gimli and Minister of Housing and
Community Development in launching the 2014 ice-jam mitigation program with the
Amphibex icebreaking team north of Selkirk near Netley Creek.
February 18, 2014
ICEBREAKING MACHINES BEGIN OPENING CHANNEL TO REDUCE POTENTIAL ICE JAMMING ON
NORTH RED RIVER: PREMIER SELINGER
The 22-tonne Amphibex machines are breaking through the ice on areas of the
Red River with a history of ice jamming. The icebreakers can also be
transported by heavy truck to other areas of the province if ice-jam issues
develop on other rivers, Premier Selinger said.
“We’ve seen the damage ice-jam-related flooding can have for communities;
it’s unpredictable and can develop rapidly,” said the premier. “Working around
the clock, our icebreaking fleet and the 28 dedicated people who operate the
equipment are recognized across the continent for the incredible success they
have protecting families and businesses.”
Since last Monday, ice-cutting machines have been creating a grid pattern so
the Amphibex equipment can break the ice and enable its movement to reduce the
potential for ice jamming. Two‑person crews pilot the vessels with safety and
support crews on hand. Global positioning systems have been installed on the
icebreakers and cutters to track exactly where raking and cuts have been made.
Ground-penetrating radar is used before cutting begins to determine ice
thickness and to guide the ice-cutting and breaking operations.
The provincial ice-mitigation fleet consists of four Amphibex AE 400
icebreaking machines, seven ice‑cutting machines, and seven amphibious transport
and support vehicles. The Amphibex icebreakers are operated and maintained by
North Red Community Water Maintenance Inc., formed with provincial assistance by
the rural municipalities of St. Andrews and St. Clements, and the City of
The Amphibex was first used in Manitoba in 2006. At that time, the
provincial fleet was able to break about six kilometres of river ice each year.
Since then, enhanced structural strength and hydraulics improvements have
enabled the fleet to crush more than 25 km annually.
Notices have been posted in areas where the Amphibex machines will be working
as a safety reminder for ice fishers, snowmobile enthusiasts and other river
users. Ice fishers are reminded to remove huts or other material in the areas
covered by the ice-mitigation program.
The premier noted that additional flood-fighting equipment
two million regular sandbags;
six sandbag-making machines;
17,000 super sandbags;
43 km of Hesco cage barriers, into which sand or other heavy material is
50 km of water-filled barriers, of which 22 km are in rapid-response
34 mobile pumps; and
61 heavy-duty steamers.
The premier said the province has appointed a new chief flood forecaster who
will be introduced to Manitobans next week in advance of the first flood
“Our new chief forecaster joins a team that is one of the most experienced
flood-forecasting units in the country and likely the continent. They have
unique shared experience of working during the largest, longest flood in
Manitoba’s history,” said Premier Selinger. “There are currently 12 dedicated
professionals who work at the forecast centre year-round including three senior
forecasters and an executive director with more than 60 years of combined
The Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation Hydrologic Forecast Centre
reports while it is too early to estimate the spring run-off potential, at this
time and subject to further weather events, Manitoba river basin conditions
indicate the flood potential appears to be significantly below that of 2011 and
2013. The centre also reports:
Soil moisture conditions at the time of freeze-up on the Red River were
below normal in Manitoba and normal in most parts of the U.S. The Qu’Appelle
River is mainly below normal. The Saskatchewan River shows below normal to
normal in southern Manitoba. The Assiniboine River shows near-normal to
above-normal conditions. The Souris River, which empties into the Assiniboine,
is near normal to above normal.
Snow conditions were near normal or below normal for much of the province
and the U.S. portion of the Red River Basin, although winter precipitation along
the Assiniboine River upstream of the Shellmouth Reservoir and the Souris River
were above normal for the month of January.
The Qu’Appelle, Souris and lower Assiniboine river winter flows were above
normal in January due to lowering of reservoirs in Saskatchewan and North
Dakota, which will increase the reservoirs’ capacity to deal with spring
precipitation and run-off.
Lake Manitoba is within its normal operation range. Lakes Dauphin,
Winnipegosis and St. Martin were above normal levels in January.