Cataraqui Conservation has issued a Flood Outlook Statement due to above seasonal temperatures and forecast rainfall in the coming days.
Daytime highs well above zero (possibly exceeding 10 degrees Celsius today tomorrow, Saturday) and above zero nighttime lows are forecast for the next several days. 20 - 25 mm+ of rain is forecast for March 18 – 20. The forecast is still uncertain, but additional rainfall or snow is in the forecast for March 23 and 24 which could amount to another 15 – 20 mm+ of rain.
The spring melt (freshet) is underway. March 15th snow surveys indicate an inconsistent snowpack across the region, storing over 150% of normal snow water equivalent for this time of year in many areas. A dense snow/ice layer at the ground surface remains a factor, reducing infiltration and contributing to greater runoff to creeks and lakes from melt and rainfall events. This enhanced runoff potential and inconsistent snowpack across the region has increased the unpredictability of this year’s freshet and associated impacts.
The combination of warm temperatures and rainfall forecast over the coming days will cause creek flows to rise quickly and may peak above typical spring highs. Some localized flooding of low-lying areas is possible. Water levels on inland lakes and streams may rise for several days from the forecasted rainfall and melt, and flows could remain high for weeks. Ice jam and culvert obstruction potential remains as the ice breaks up.
Flows are already high in many areas, especially through water control structures as Water Managers try to lower water levels to make room for the coming snowmelt and rainfall.
Flows are being managed to mitigate, as much as possible, negative impacts from the expected inflows which will increase water levels and contribute to deteriorating ice conditions on area lakes over the coming days and weeks.
Cataraqui Conservation is urging caution around all dams (inflow and outflow channels) and fast-flowing watercourses. Respect the hazards in these areas by obeying all warning signs, and keep away from booms, buoys, and barriers. Stay well back from the water’s edge above and below dams and hydroelectric stations. Creek banks and lake shorelines may be slippery, increasing the chance of falling in.
The forecasted rainfall and snow melt may also cause roadway ponding, which may be especially problematic in urban areas where storm drains and catchbasins are blocked by ice and snow.
Widespread flooding is NOT expected at this time. However, some localized flooding of low-lying areas may occur. If you witness flooding and/or require assistance your first point of contact is the local municipality.
Staff will continue to monitor conditions and forecasts and will update statements as needed. This Watershed Conditions Statement will remain in effect until (or updated before) Thursday, March 31, 2022, at 11:59 PM.
For up-to-date flooding information, please visit our flood forecasting and information page at https://cataraquiconservation.ca/pages/flood