A word of caution to all snowmobile riders thinking of heading out onto the Red River.

According to Manitoba Transportation and Infrastructure's Hydrologic Forecast Centre, the Red River has risen significantly in southern Manitoba as the result of considerable precipitation south of the border over Christmas.

The Forecast Centre says the southern portion of the Red River basin in the United States received up to 80 millimetres of precipitation as rain and snow between December 24th and 27th. This has increased water levels north of the border.

Water levels have already increased by about five feet near Emerson and are peaking. The Forecast Centre says water levels will continue to rise north of Emerson by three to five feet as the river approaches Winnipeg. This is all expected in the next three to five days.


Yvonne Rideout is Executive Director of Snoman. She says the rise in river levels will lift the ice and create open water conditions near the shorelines. Rideout warns sledders not to go on waterways unless ice conditions have been checked. 

"Unless the waterways have been checked, they won't be groomed," she explains. "And we encourage people to stay off the waterways. There's trails in other areas."

Rideout says there is always a risk when you are crossing waterways and says if the trail is groomed across a waterway, it means that the club has checked ice conditions.

Meanwhile, Rideout says as we near the end of the first week of January, there are only three snowmobile clubs in the province that have open trails. She expects to see a couple more openings next week. The clubs with open trails are in western and northern Manitoba. 


Rideout says right now we need another foot of snow on the trails to get them groomed and ready for sleds. However, she says this is nothing unusual for early January, noting historically it is not before mid-January when most snowmobile clubs get going. She asks for patience from sledders.

"As soon as we can get out there and get more trails groomed and opened up then we will do so," says Rideout.