Cataraqui Conservation warns of increased streamflows and lake levels

A rural roadway, flooded out due to high water levels in inland lakes and streams. Photo via Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.

A Water Safety Statement is ongoing in the Cataraqui Region, and Cataraqui Conservation has updated the statement due to forecasted warmer temperatures and rainfall.

A period of thaw has arrived, the conservation authority noted, bringing a mix of freezing rain and rain to the region today, Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, and rain on both January 25 and 26 (15 to 30 mm+ total rainfall). Temperatures will remain mostly above 0°C today through Sunday, Jan. 28, possibly as high as 5°C on Friday, Jan. 26, before falling back below zero.

“Long range forecasts suggest February may begin with another multi-day period of above average temps,” Cataraqui Conservation stated.

“Streamflows and lake levels are expected to increase from the forecasted rainfall and warmer temperatures, and associated snowmelt, over the next five days. Ice safety concerns continue as the warmer temperatures will further weaken the ice.”

While widespread flooding is not expected at this time, the Conservation Authority is urging caution around dams and fast-flowing watercourses, and stated that deterioration of ice conditions can be expected. Creek banks and lake shorelines are likely to become slippery, as well, increasing the chance of falling in.

“Cataraqui Conservation does not use ice thickness measurements for evaluating ice conditions. Due to climate variability, ice formation may not be consistent and ice conditions can deteriorate quickly,” the organization stated.

“Based on observations by area water managers (representatives of local private power companies, provincial and federal ministries responsible for water management) there is concern for the condition of the ice, which can vary considerably from one waterbody to the next and within a single waterbody. No ice is without some risk. Visit lifesaving.org for ice safety information.”

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