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Manitoba promotes from within for new chief flood forecaster

Fisaha Unduche (left) is introduced to the media Monday, Feb.24, 2014 as the Manitoba government's new chief flood forecaster. He replaces Philip Mutulu, who resigned last summer and had faced accusations of being caught off-guard by spring flooding in 2011. Beside Unduche is Steve Ashton, the province's minister for emergency measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve Lambert

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Fisaha Unduche (left) is introduced to the media Monday, Feb.24, 2014 as the Manitoba government's new chief flood forecaster. He replaces Philip Mutulu, who resigned last summer and had faced accusations of being caught off-guard by spring flooding in 2011. Beside Unduche is Steve Ashton, the province's minister for emergency measures. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Steve Lambert

WINNIPEG - Manitoba has a new chief flood forecaster.

Fisaha Unduche (fee-saw-HAW' un-DOO'-chay) was introduced to the media today as the replacement for Philip Mutulu (muh-TOO'-loo), who resigned last summer.

Unduche has 15 years of experience in the Netherlands and Manitoba, and has spent the last five years in the Water Stewardship Department.

His predecessor faced accusations he was caught off guard by severe late-spring flooding along the Assiniboine River, which forced thousands of people from their homes in 2011.

Unduche says the province is using new technology and new weather models to improve forecasting.

He is to release the province's first flood outlook on Friday, but is hinting prospects this year aren't bad.

"What we are expecting for this year is normal to below-normal for most parts of Manitoba," he said Monday.

While some areas have seen more snow than usual, the snow does not contain a lot of moisture, Unduche explained. Still, much can change before the melt gets underway.

Unduche added he feels ready for the scrutiny that comes with being the head flood forecaster in a province that sees some type of flooding almost every year.

"When the snow melts and when there is a sudden temperature change, we forecasters are always under pressure ... and I'm sure I'll cope with the future pressure as well."

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