ice breaking up on creek

Kingston – Cataraqui Conservation is advising residents regarding the seasonal changes about to begin in the region.

Weather Situation: In the short-term, above zero daytime highs in the range of about 4 to 8º C+ are expected for the next couple weeks, with overnight lows only falling to about 0ºC. Rainfall is expected to accompany these slightly higher than average temperatures. Some long-range weather forecasts are calling for a wetter than normal April and May.

Conditions: The spring freshet (snowmelt) is off to a slower start this year. A melt of the above average snowpack (in the range of about 1.5 – 2x times normal) is expected to begin in the coming days, and combined with rainfall and frozen ground conditions will contribute to increasing water levels and flows on inland lakes and streams in the coming weeks.

Water Managers will continue to make discharge adjustments to manage, as much as possible, any excess flows coming through the system from snowmelt and rainfall, and to maintain target water levels which are on an upward trend at this time of year to prepare for the summer recreation season.

Risks: The above average snowpack and later start to the freshet are influences that could contribute to a more problematic freshet this year but due to several factors, including forecast uncertainty, it is too early to tell at this point to what degree. The greatest factors contributing to flood risk will be rainfall amounts, and the speed at which the snowpack melts and timing relative to rainfall events.

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.

Ice conditions continue to deteriorate from the above zero daytime highs. Cataraqui Conservation 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 water body.

Widespread flooding is NOT expected at this time. However, the usual springtime inundation of low-lying areas can be expected. More significant nuisance inundation is possible. 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 advisory has no expiry date.

For up-to-date flooding information, please visit our flood forecasting and information page at