CRCA downgrades flood warning to flood watch

Looking out over the water at Kingston Mills. Photo by Jessica Foley.

Today, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) downgraded its flood warning statement for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to a flood watch.

According to the statement issued on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019, the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB) is reporting a lake-wide water level of 75.64 m as of Monday, Aug. 5, 2019. This level is about 28 cm below this year’s peak levels of 75.92 m, which was last recorded on Monday, Jun. 15, 2019.

“Water levels have been slowly declining for several weeks and Lake Ontario outflows remain at the record high of 10,400 metres³/second,” the CRCA said in the statement, noting that this outflow level has been consistent since Saturday, Jun. 13, and is the equivalent of the outflows released during the previous summer of record-breaking water heights in 2017.

The current water levels measured at Kingston (75.58 metres) and Brockville (74.15 metres) are still well above average, the CRCA said – the average annual peak on the lake is about 75 metres in June. But the current level is also considerably lower than the peak highs experienced in June of this year: 75.88 metres in Kingston, and 75.61 metres in Brockville. These peaks represent an increase of several centimetres over the peak levels seen in 2017.

Still, the ILOSLRB, who manages the Lake Ontario outflows, advises that a risk of flooding remains.

“Levels are expected to continue to decline this week, however, there remains a risk of flooding and high-water impacts during periods of active weather,” the ILOSLRB said.

Although the water levels have fallen at least 30 cm from their peaks in June, the high water levels will persist for the weeks ahead. Ongoing localized flooding and erosion impacts are now less disruptive than those experienced in June, the local conservation authority said.

“The CRCA is urging residents to take care along the shoreline and on the water as levels decline further,” the statement reads.

“Unsafe/unstable banks have been reported due to recent erosion, high water and wave action has deposited debris along shorelines and beaches, and floating debris could cause hazardous conditions for boaters.”

Indeed, there are a number of places in Kingston where the erosion of the shoreline is obvious, from Paterson Park in the city’s west end, to Doug Fluhrer Park downtown. Please exercise caution when walking on or approaching shorelines.

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