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Flood Outlook, Water Safety - Statement

Flood Outlook and Water Safety Watershed Conditions Statement flood message issued

A Flood Outlook and Water Safety Watershed Conditions Statement was issued by Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) on Monday, February 4, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. noon.

A moderate rise in streamflow is expected, with the slight potential of ice jams. 

Watershed residents are reminded to stay away from creeks, rivers, other watercourses.   

Temperatures are expected to reach 10 degrees Celsius through the day today (Monday, February 4, 2019), with additional rainfall amounts of 5 millimetres (mm) forecasted across most of the watershed. The warm-up will be brief, with temperatures expected to return below freezing by tomorrow morning.

Snow surveys conducted on January 31, 2019 measured between 30 and 50 mm of water equivalent in the snowpack. Updated measurements taken this morning show that, despite the loss of snow over the last 24 hours, much of the water equivalent remains in the ripened snow, and on frozen ground. Much of the snow cover is expected to disappear over the next 24 hours.   

Major flooding is not anticipated; however, watercourses could reach or exceed bank-full conditions, with minor flooding of traditional low-lying flood plain areas. Streamflow will peak in the smaller streams overnight tonight, and larger rivers through the day Tuesday and Wednesday. As a result, flows are projected to remain high through the week.

Some minor ice jams remain in some creeks and rivers from the January 24 thaw. While these jams have not caused any reported problems, they may be subject to movement with rising streamflow. A slight risk of further ice jamming will be dependent on how quickly river levels rise. Ice jam flooding potential is limited primarily to the lower portions of the Ausable and Bayfield Rivers, including the river mouth areas of Port Franks, Bayfield, and – to a lesser extent – Grand Bend.

Municipal staff should monitor local drainage problem areas where snow conditions may have covered catch basins. Smaller rural watercourses have been drifted in by snow which, during a runoff, can block flows and back up water onto adjacent lands, resulting in localized flooding problems.

Residents are reminded to stay away from all watercourses. The extremely cold water, combined with slippery and unstable stream banks, has created hazardous conditions near all waterways. Any remaining ice in ponded watercourses should be considered unsafe.

This message will remain in effect until 12:00 p.m. noon on Thursday, February 7, 2019, unless local conditions warrant further updates. The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority (ABCA) will continue to monitor watershed conditions and will provide an update if required.

Number: 2019. S.1.1               
Issued at: Monday, February 4, 2019 at 12:00 p.m. noon
Issued by: Davin Heinbuck, Water Resources Coordinator

Types of Flood Messages
  • Watershed Conditions Statement (Flood Outlook/Water Safety): General watershed conditions suggest high runoff potential that could lead to flooding and remind the public of general river safety issues.
  • Flood Watch: Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services, landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.
  • Flood Warning: Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.
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