CRCA Issues “Flood Outlook” Watershed Conditions Statement

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Flooding ina park

The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) has issued a Watershed Conditions – Flood Outlook Statement today.

The combination of rain and melting snow that occurred between January 11 – 13 saw some areas receiving over 60 mm of precipitation. This caused creek and lake levels to rise very quickly last weekend. Ice jams, dams, and obstructions have been reported and observed causing nuisance flooding of low lying areas and local road closures in some areas.

Water managers have had to increase outflows to spring levels in some cases to manage impacts on lakes. Because of these conditions there may be damage to structures along inland lakeshores (e.g. when the ice goes out in the spring).

Water control structures are passing high volumes of water in response to this rainfall and rapid snow melt. Ice conditions are expected to be very unsafe due to the higher than normal flows for this time of year.

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Current weather forecasts are calling for daytime temperatures to rise above zero degrees Celsius over the next five days, although a rapid melting of snow and ice is not anticipated for our region. Widespread flooding is NOT expected, but the projected 10 to 25 mm of rain predicted for Jan. 22 and 23 is considered to be significant.

With higher than normal water levels and flows on area creeks and lakes, the expected rainfall will likely cause many to begin rising again. As with last weekend, ice jams, dams and obstructions on creeks could lead to localized flooding of low-lying areas.

The CRCA is urging residents to exercise caution around lakes and streams, stay off the ice, away from unstable or slippery creek banks and shorelines, as well as any dams and outflow channels.

CRCA does not measure ice thickness for advising the public about ice conditions for recreational activities. Ice conditions can vary considerably from one waterbody to the next and within a single waterbody.

In urban areas, catchbasins and storm drains that may be covered by snow, should be cleared to reduce urban ponding.

CRCA staff will continue to monitor conditions and forecasts, and will update statements as needed. This Watershed Conditions Statement will remain in effect until Thursday, February 1, 2018.

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Photo (cropped): Betty Longbottom (pd)