ST. ANDREWS, Man. - Manitoba's annual fight to prevent flooding is underway.
Three amphibious ice-breaking machines have started punching holes in the frozen Red River, in an attempt to ensure the river doesn't back up when the spring thaw begins.
Premier Greg Selinger says the ice is thick and there is a lot of snow on the ground this year, but the soil was very dry in the fall, so that could help reduce the chance of major flooding.
He says the government will issue its first flood forecast of the year next Wednesday.
Manitoba's low-lying, flat river valleys are prone to spring flooding as meltwater comes in from as far away as The Rockies.
The last bad year was in 2011, when thousands of people were evacuated.
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The Assiniboine River in Winnipeg overflows its banks in April 2006, next to the Manitoba legislature in the background. JEFF PALMER/AFP/Getty Images
WMembers of the Canadian Army help to shore up a dike surrounding a house in Winnipeg, Manitoba as the Red River rises. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
A truck sits immersed in water in back of a sign showing the distance to other towns in southern Manitoba that have fallen victim to the rising Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
A pair of Canadian geese swim over the front yard of a house in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
Two people paddle down a street in Winnipeg, Manitoba on April 30 as the Red River continues to rise. Over 20,000 people have been evacuated from their homes. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
Robin Callis (L) lets her mom know that she and her husband Don Callis (R) are leaving their home in the south end of Winnipeg after a mandatory evacuation order was given and everyone in the area had to leave. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
WPolice officers Murray Bain (L) and Rick Jansen direct traffic in the south end of Winnipeg, Canada, after a mandatory evacuation order was given requiring everyone in the area to leave. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
From the back of an armored personal carrier Stefan Boisclair of the Canadian Army measures the depth of water flowing over the only road that military vehicles can negotiate to the town of St. Adolphe, Manitoba 20 miles south of Winnipeg. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
The Canadian Military in an armoured personel carrier drive away from a house that is flooding after dropping off people to sandbag because of high water levels on the Red River in Winnipeg, Manitoba. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
Ray Kosman (R) and homeowner Joe Brodeur fortify the sandbag dike that surrounds Brodeur's home in the town of St. Adolphe, Manitoba which is 20 miles south of Winnipeg. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
Canadian Military Cpt. Julie Landry stands on a dike and inspects a bridge that has been flooded by the Red River in St. Jean Baptise, Canada, which is just north of the Canada-US border. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
Canadian Army Master Sgt. Joe Bisson patrols the flooded Red River 27 April, looking for residents needing help in St. Jean Baptise, north of the US border. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images
A family come ashore in their driveway in Saint Jean Baptise near the swollen Red River. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images