Flood Warnings – North Bay District – May 22nd, 2019
May 24, 2019
North Bay District
Wednesday, May 22, 2019
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – North Bay District is advising area residents that an Updated Flood Warning is in effect in the District until Tuesday, May 28, 2019.
The Ministry is closely monitoring the weather and developing watershed conditions. Further updates will be issued as appropriate.
Description of Weather System
Forecasts for the North Bay District area expect variable precipitation over the next five days with accumulations ranging from 10-15 mm in the northern reaches of the district and 15-20 mm in the southern reaches. Daytime highs for the same period are forecast to range from 10-20 degrees Celsius with nighttime lows ranging from 4-10 degrees Celsius across the district.
Description of Current Conditions
The North Bay District has experienced significant increases in water levels and stream flows over the past month. The combination of repeated rainfall and snowmelt has resulted in water levels across the district rising significantly, reaching or exceeding flood levels in many areas. In some areas water levels are expected to slowly stabilize over the next several days. In some locations the ground is saturated or remains partially frozen and as a result has little ability to absorb further precipitation. The northern reaches of the district continue to experience snow melt which could impact water levels and flow.
The Ottawa River Watershed continues to be affected by recent rainfall events combined with the remaining snow melt on the watershed. Lake Temiskaming water levels are currently stable and should continue to slowly decrease over the next few days. Water released from Lake Temiskaming flows down the Ottawa River to the Otto Holden Dam, in the Mattawa area, where higher than normal water levels continue.
Water levels in Mattawa are currently sitting at 155.28 m and could reach 155.50 m, however, Ottawa River water levels are expected to stabilize or slowly decrease over the next several days.
Due to the magnitude of this year’s flooding, Transport Canada has put navigation restrictions in place on the Ottawa River between the Otto Holden Dam and the Deux Montagnes Lake, and the Mattawa River between Hurdman Dam and the confluence of Mattawa River and Ottawa River. Navigation by non-emergency vessels is strictly prohibited. This includes pleasure craft and human-powered craft, such as canoes or kayaks.
The Montreal River Watershed area continues to see higher than normal water levels and flows which have reached or exceeded flood levels in many areas. Water levels in the watershed have begun to slowly decrease and are expected to continue to slowly decrease over the next several days. In the Latchford area, Bay Lake water levels are beginning to slowly decrease and are currently sitting at 277.17 m (maximum lake level 277.15 m). Lake levels are expected to continue to stabilize or slightly decrease in the next few days with the maximum discharge continuing from the Latchford dam.
Lake Temagami water levels continue to remain higher than normal and are forecasted to stabilize and slowly decrease over the next several days.
The Sturgeon River, Lake Nipissing and French River areas have been impacted by higher than normal water levels. Lake Nipissing water levels are currently sitting at 196.49 m, well above the Maximum ‘Non-Damage’ water level of 196.22 m. With the forecasted northerly and southerly winds, water levels are expected to keep levels high, specifically in the North Bay area. Residents along the French River continue to see higher than normal water levels. Levels are expected to remain high over the next several days with the forecasted rainfall and continuing discharge from Lake Nipissing.
On Lake Nipissing, boaters are being urged to stay away from shorelines and flood affected areas so that vessel movements do not pose a risk to the safety of individuals or cause damage to the environment, properties and infrastructure.
Due to safety concerns and the higher than normal water levels safety booms in the following locations have not been installed at:
• Latchford Dam
• Temiskaming Dam
• French River Dams (Big Chaudiére, Little Chaudiére and Portage); and
• Hurdman Dam
Recreational users (boats, jet skis, canoes, kayaks, etc.) are urged to stay away from dams and flood affected areas as high water levels and strong currents are dangerous for watercraft and pose a serious safety risk. Reports of large debris (e.g. logs, docks, decks, etc.) are also being reported in flood affected waters and pose an additional safety risk to recreational users.
Municipalities and residents, especially those in low-lying areas and along shorelines, are encouraged to monitor these conditions and prepare accordingly. Shorelines and banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and unstable at this time and, when combined with cold open water, pose a serious hazard.
Road closures and sand bagging efforts continue across much of the North Bay District and many area residents have been impacted by localized flooding.
A close watch on local forecasts and conditions is recommended.
• WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – FLOOD OUTLOOK: gives early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions
• WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – WATER SAFETY: indicates that high flows, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for such users as boaters, anglers and swimmers but flooding is not expected.
• FLOOD WATCH: potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities • FLOOD WARNING: flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.
• Surface Water Monitoring Centre public webpage www.ontario.ca/flooding
• Environment Canada bulletins: www. weather.gc.ca
• A close watch on local conditions and weather forecasts from Environment Canada is recommended.
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For more information please contact:
Graham Mewett, IRM Technical Specialist
Danielle Loranger, A/IRM Technical Specialist