Manitoba Flood Fight Begins With Ice-Breaking On Red River

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Ray Kosman (R) and homeowner Joe Brodeur fortify the sandbag dike that surrounds Brodeur's home in the town of St. Adolphe, Manitoba during the 1997 spring flooding. CARLO ALLEGRI/AFP/Getty Images | CP

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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