Cataraqui Conservation issues water safety statement due to ‘significant rainfall’ in forecast

Photo by Pan Xiaozhen.

With a special weather statement issued by Environment Canada calling for 15 to 25 mm of rainfall, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority has issued a ‘Water Safety Statement.’

The “forecast for significant rainfall” is paired with periods of above-zero temperatures, the local Conservation Authority noted.

“Rain, at times heavy, is expected today (Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023) into tomorrow morning,” Cataraqui Conservation said in a press release, noting that, while the total amount of rainfall is uncertain, those amounts could tip over 35 mm.

“Temperatures above zero will also contribute to the melting of some of the above average snowpack. There is a significant possibility for additional rainfall and higher-than-average temperatures to return next week, leading to more runoff and snow melt.”

Runoff from the rain and snow melt will cause creek flows levels to increase, which will, in turn, lead lake levels to be on the rise, according to the Conservation Authority.

“Flows through water control structures will be high as Water Managers increase discharge through dams to mitigate, as much as possible, the negative impacts from the expected inflows,” the Conservation Authority said.

As such, Cataraqui Conservation is urging caution around all dams (inflow and outflow channels) and fast-flowing watercourses.

“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 Eater Safety Statement reads.

“A deterioration of ice conditions is also expected. 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.”

The Conservation Authority said that the forecasted rainfall may also cause roadway ponding, which “may be especially problematic in urban areas where storm drains and catch basins are blocked by ice and snow.” While widespread flooding is not expected, 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,” Cataraqui Conservation said.

“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) Wednesday, Feb.15, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.”

Up-to-date flooding information through Cataraqui Conservation can be found on their flood forecasting and information page.

In addition to the rain, Environment Canada advises of strong winds, which may gust up to 90 km/h. “Strong southwesterly winds will develop this evening and diminish overnight or early Friday morning,” the national weather agency said in its special weather statement, which is issued for the Kingston, Odessa, Frontenac Islands, Napanee, Consecon, Picton, and Sandbanks Park areas.

“High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break. Isolated utility outages are possible.”

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