Cataraqui Conservation has issued a Water Safety Statement, cautioning residents and visitors in the region to be cautious around water bodies and shorelines due to reported unsafe ice conditions. This advisory comes as area water managers express concerns about the current ice safety.
The region is experiencing below-average temperatures, expected to rise to around zero degrees Celsius in the coming days and continue through next week. The combination of recent heavy rainfall and the lack of consistently cold temperatures has resulted in flows and water levels being higher than usual for this time of year, contributing to unsafe ice conditions on many water bodies.
The public is advised to exercise extreme caution when engaging in activities on the ice, particularly near dams, fast-flowing watercourses, and stormwater ponds. Cataraqui Conservation emphasizes the importance of respecting hazards by adhering to warning signs and keeping a safe distance from booms, buoys, barriers, and the water’s edge around dams and hydroelectric stations. Additionally, creek banks and lake shorelines may be slippery, posing a risk of falling in.
Cataraqui Conservation does not rely on ice thickness measurements to assess ice safety. Due to climate variability, ice formation may be inconsistent, and conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Observations by area water managers indicate that ice conditions can vary significantly across and within water bodies, reminding the public that no ice is entirely risk-free. For ice safety information, residents are directed to lifesaving.org.
While widespread flooding is not anticipated at present, fluctuations in water levels on watercourses susceptible to ice jams, such as Millhaven Creek, can cause localized flooding in low-lying areas during extremely cold temperatures (below -18 °C).
Local municipalities should be the first point of contact in case of flooding or for assistance. Cataraqui Conservation staff will remain vigilant, monitoring conditions and updating statements as necessary. This Watershed Conditions Statement is effective until Wednesday, January 31, 2024, at 11:59 PM.
For the latest information on flooding, the public is encouraged to visit Cataraqui Conservation’s flood forecasting and information page.