Warm temperatures prompt Cataraqui Conservation to extend water safety statement

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

Earlier this month, Cataraqui Conservation issued a Water Safety Statement cautioning that runoff from rain and snow melt will cause creek flows levels to increase, which could lead lake levels to be on the rise. Today, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023, the Conservation Authority has extended that safety statement due to “above-average flows and water levels”, and the forecast for temperatures above zero.

“Daytime highs may exceed 10º C today (Wednesday) and near 5º C tomorrow,” the statement reads. “There is also the possibility of some rainfall over the next few days. Temperatures are expected to fall back to seasonal sub-zero temperatures on Friday and then we can expect another few higher-than-average temperature days before settling back to seasonal sub-zero temperatures midweek next week.”

As has been the case for most of 2023 so far, streamflows and water levels are above average following rainfall on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, and due to the ongoing thaw, Cataraqui Conservation noted. The warmer temperatures are expected to cause additional snowmelt runoff, sustaining or further increasing flows and water levels on streams and lakes, according to the statement.

“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 Water 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 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.”

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