02/17/2015 11:36 EST | Updated 04/19/2015 05:59 EDT

Ice-breakers going out on Manitoba's Red River to help prevent possible flooding

WINNIPEG - Spring may seem like a long way away in frigid Manitoba, but ice-breakers are heading out on the Red River in preparation for potential flooding.

The Amphibex machines break up about 30 kilometres of ice down the centre of the river before the thaw.

That reduces the possibility that big chunks will dam the river and cause a sudden flood.

The province bought its first Amphibex machine in 2006 and has expanded the fleet since then.

Premier Greg Selinger says the machines concentrate on areas that have a history of ice jams.

He says the province's first flood outlook is to be released next week.