Unseasonal warmth sees Cataraqui Conservation extend water safety statement

Kingston Mills Locks in the spring of 2022. Photo by Jessica Foley/Kingstonist.

Last month, Cataraqui Conservation issued a Water Safety Statement cautioning that runoff from heavy rainfall and snowmelt will cause streamflows and lake levels to increase. Today, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, the Conservation Authority has extended that safety statement due to forecasted rainfall and warmer temperatures, with a forecast of up to 7 degrees Celcius for the next few days.

“Another period of thaw is inbound, with temperatures forecast to stay above 0°C from Feb. 8 through Feb. 11, with daytime highs of 5 – 7°C Feb. 8 to 10, before sub-zero temps are expected to return next week. Rainfall on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 is expected in the amount of 5 – 10 mm+,” the statement reads.

The conservation agency noted that streamflows are above normal for this time of year, and water managers are reporting above normal flows through dams and open water on area waterways.

“Streamflows and lake levels are expected to increase further from the forecasted rainfall and warmer temperatures, and associated snowmelt. Ice safety concerns remain. The warmer temperatures and increased flows will act to weaken the ice,” Cataraqui Conservation stated.

According to the statement, Cataraqui Conservation is urging caution when considering activities on the ice, particularly around all dams (inflow and outflow channels), fast-flowing watercourses, and stormwater ponds.

“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 Water Safety Statement reads.

“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. 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.”

The Conservation Authority said that widespread flooding is not expected and added “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) Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.”

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

Leave a Reply

You cannot copy content from this page, please share the link instead!