Otonabee Conservation issues flood watch

Forecasted rainfall and snowmelt is expected to cause minor flooding

The flood watch is for minor flooding in low-lying and flood-prone areas, not along major waterways such as the Kawartha Lakes, Otonabee River, Rice Lake, and Trent River (photo: Wikipedia)
The flood watch is for minor flooding in low-lying and flood-prone areas, not along major waterways such as the Kawartha Lakes, Otonabee River, Rice Lake, and Trent River (photo: Wikipedia)

A flood watch is now in effect for the geographical jurisdiction of the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority, which includes the municipalities of Selwyn, Douro-Dummer, Asphodel-Norwood, Otonabee-South Monaghan, Cavan Monaghan, the City of Kawartha Lakes, and the City of Peterborough.

A flood watch message is issued when the potential for flooding exists.

While flooding is not expected along the Kawartha Lakes, Otonabee River, or Rice Lake at this time, flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services, and individual landowners in low lying flood-prone areas should make preparations.

Environment Canada reports that rain is expected to spread across southern Ontario from west to east tonight (February 28) and taper off on Wednesday. General rainfall amounts of 15 to 25 millimetres are likely, though isolated spots may see higher amounts, especially in areas that receive thunderstorms. Temperatures will remain above freezing throughout the day today, overnight and into tomorrow before cooling off late Wednesday. Temperatures above freezing combined with rainfall will expedite melting of the remaining snowpack.

Many of the rivers and creeks in the region are flowing moderately high as a result of snowmelt and rainfall over the past week. There have been reports of minor nuisance flooding in low lying areas adjacent to wetlands and other areas with poor drainage.

The forecast rainfall and snowmelt, combined with saturated and/or frozen ground conditions will result in appreciable runoff into rivers and creeks. It is expected that minor flooding in low-lying and flood-prone areas will occur as a result of the forecast weather.

Widespread flooding is not anticipated at the present time. Should thunderstorms materialize with intense rainfall, smaller creeks may respond quickly, reaching bankfull conditions or exceeding their banks, resulting in flooding of low lying areas.

However, fooding along the Kawartha Lakes, Otonabee River, Rice Lake, and Trent River (Rice Lake to Hastings) are not expected to flood as a result of these conditions.

The public is advised to avoid all activities near rivers and creeks as high flows and slippery banks are extremely hazardous. Affected municipalities, and those residents living in low-lying flood prone areas, are advised to take precautions to protect their property.

Staff of the Otonabee Region Conservation Authority will continue to monitor the situation closely and provide an update should the forecast conditions deteriorate.

Local municipalities are the first to respond to, and assist with, flood emergencies. To report a flood in your area, call the Flood Watch Hotline at 705-745-5791, ext. 228. If you experience a flood emergency, call 911 immediately.

The flood watch will remain in effect until Friday, March 3rd, 2017, or until further notice.

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