Well above average snow pack conditions across the Mississippi Valley watershed could lead to above average flooding this spring. Current conditions at snow course sites are indicating significantly higher than normal water content amounts in the snow for this time of year. While snow is not the primary driver for spring flooding, it is one of several major contributors, along with rainfall and temperature.
Due to the January rain/melt that caused significant increases in levels and flows throughout the watershed, MVCA has been aggressively moving water through the system in order to achieve maximum storage capacity. This will be a continued trend over the next few weeks. Levels and flows will remain higher than normal for much of the Mississippi River as water continues to be pushed through the system in preparation for spring freshet.
Large river systems and inland lakes are not expected to flood at this time, although, ice jams can form along the river. This can cause water levels to rise quickly without warning.
Ice conditions can change drastically due to increased flows. The shoreline adjacent to lakes, rivers and creeks is very slippery and poses a serious hazard. Falling into open water could result in hypothermia or drowning.
The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) reminds the public to exercise extreme caution around all water bodies:
- The public and pets should stay off all frozen water bodies.
- Parents are urged to remind children about the dangers of playing on or near ice covered surfaces and open water.
Residents in flood prone or low-lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:
- Ensuring sump pump is clear, in good working condition and has a backwater valve on it
- Portable backup generator and pump
- Ensuring downspouts are clear and the outlet is at least 3 m from the dwelling
- Removing or securing items that might float away as flows increase
- Removing valuable items from basements or lower floors that could be subject to flooding
- Keep emergency phone numbers handy
- Familiarize yourself with your municipality’s emergency preparedness plan
This Watershed Conditions Statement is in effect until the end of the day on Thursday, March 16, 2023 and will be updated at that time unless the forecasts change.
Please visit the MVCA’s website for more information on:
- Water levels and flow data: mvc.on.ca/water-levels
- Watershed Conditions Messages: mvc.on.ca/watershed-conditions-message.