Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety
With warm temperatures in the forecast and the possibility of rain, Maitland Conservation is issuing a Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety for the Maitland and Nine Mile River watersheds.
A high of 4 C is expected on Saturday with temperatures remaining just above zero overnight into Sunday. The temperature is expected to reach 8 C on Sunday before dropping sharply Sunday evening. There is also the potential for 5 mm to 15 mm of rain over the weekend.
The water content in the snowpack varies across the watershed from 30 mm to 60 mm. Most of the snowpack is expected to be depleted by Sunday evening. The ground is currently frozen across most of the watershed and as a result the snowmelt and rain will run off quickly into watercourses.
Based on the current weather forecast major flooding is not expected at this time; however flooding may occur in low-lying areas. Water levels in headwater streams (Lucknow, Harriston, Listowel) and smaller rivers are expected to peak Sunday evening. Water levels downstream in the larger rivers (Wingham, Benmiller) will experience high, fast flows into Wednesday.
Ice remains in floodplain areas from the melt that occurred in early February. As water levels rise there is the potential for this ice to be shifted causing the formation of localized ice jams. Ice jams may cause water levels to change quickly so municipal officials have been asked to monitor low-lying and flood prone roads.
Residents are reminded to stay away from all watercourses. Extremely cold and fast-moving water, combined with slippery and unstable stream banks, will create hazardous conditions near all waterways. Ice cover, where it exists, will be weakened as a result of the warm temperatures.
This message will remain in effect until 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday Feb. 27, 2019. Maitland Conservation will continue to monitor watershed conditions and will provide an update if necessary.
Jeff Winzenried, Water Resources Technician
519-335-3557 ext. 243