Environment, News

Manitoba Prepares For Red River To Flood

Manitoba is battening down the hatches because the water levels in the Red River are rising and it is threatening to overflow.

As the weather is getting warmer, large chunks of ice that formed during the winter are breaking apart and blocking the flow of the river. This is called an ice jam. Melting snow and rain are also adding to the rising water level.

Winnipeg is Manitoba’s capital and its largest city. The residents there have been advised to build walls of sandbags to protect their homes. The city handed out 1.8 million sandbags to homeowners. Many volunteers, including students, are being asked to help build the walls.

The Red River, which stretches all the way into the United States, has already “crested” in Fargo, North Dakota. A crest is the highest point of a flood wave as it passes a certain location, which means that the highest wave in Fargo has already occurred. The crest in Fargo reached about 39 feet, which was lower than expected.

From past experience, Red River residents know that a few weeks after the river crests in Fargo it will crest in Manitoba. Experts predict the crest will reach Winnipeg sometime between May 8 and 13.

Due to quick action and better-than-expected weather, it appears Manitobans are prepared for this year’s flood. However, spring floods are starting to occur almost every year and are becoming a real inconvenience to residents. About 700 people living in Manitoba have left their homes to keep safe. The flood is affecting many First Nations communities.

The Red River is not the only river that is flooding. The Assiniboine River is another big river that is flooding now, too. There are many smaller creeks and rivers that are shutting down more than 700 roads and highways. Some families have had to leave their homes by boat instead of by car.

The floods could also hurt some farmers in the Prairie provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Water can start to pool in the fields and ruin their crops for the season as it did in 2005.


Writing/Discussion Prompt
Normally, when we think of students we think of a group of young people learning in a classroom with a teacher. However, due to the large amount of flood water Manitoba is expecting, students in that province are being asked to take a break from school and to help build walls to protect properties. What skills and lessons do you think these Manitoba students are learning now that they are outside of their regular classrooms?

Reading Prompt
The speed at which a reader reads words and sentences is called the rate. Reading at an even rate not only makes what we are reading sound good, it also helps us understand what we are reading. Having read today’s article once already, re-read today’s story and concentrate on making sure your rate is a comfortable rate. Bonus: raise and lower your voice to show the parts of the article that are the most important.

Read appropriate texts at a sufficient rate and with sufficient expression to convey the sense of the text readily to the reader and an audience (OME, Reading: 3.3).

Junior & Intermediate
Read appropriate texts with expression and confidence, adjusting reading strategies and reading rate to match the form and purpose (OME, Reading: 3.3).

Grammar Feature: Idioms
An idiom is an expression with a meaning that has become broader over time. For example, the idiom in today’s story, “battening down the hatches,” has changed quite a bit since its first use in the early 1800s.

“Battening down the hatches” is an expression that sailors often used to say as they would get ready to protect the ship from storms. They would use a strip of wood, a “batten,” to seal and protect the openings on the ship, the “hatches.” However, people now use this expression to describe any situation where people are getting prepared for a difficult time ahead.

One of the best things about idioms is discovering where they come from. Can you guess the story behind these famous idioms?

1. “Blow off some steam”        2. “Let the cat out of the bag”        3. “Sleep tight”