The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority would like to issue a statement to residents in regard to current watershed conditions.
There is a weather system tracking across northern Ontario which has the potential to bring precipitation amounts of 25-30 mm with potential additional runoff from snow melting over a wide area. This storm will create a potentially hazardous situation for Sunday, November 23 to Tuesday, November 25 and will affect much of the area with heavy snow, freezing rain, rain and temperatures well above freezing.
The main concern will be temperatures warming to above freezing throughout the watershed in conjunction with expected rainfall. Warmer air will begin pushing into the system throughout the day Saturday. There is the potential threat of freezing rain Sunday into Monday ahead of the rain. Rainfall amounts of 20-35 mm are possible throughout the watershed.
The local streams and rivers in our watersheds are currently flowing at normal levels and have the capacity to accept precipitation and runoff from the anticipated rainfall amounts.
If the predicted rainfall occurs with temperatures above freezing (3-5oC) there may be localized flooding in areas of poor drainage.
The areas of poor drainage include areas of the City of Sault Ste. Marie where catch basins may be blocked.
Warmer temperatures, above freezing during the day and overnight, combined with extensive rain could result in melting significant portions of the local snow pack. The amount of runoff anticipated from this rain event is expected to raise water levels significantly in the short term and rivers and streams have a slight potential to reach flood criteria.
The flood control channels owned and maintained by the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority are currently flowing well below normal. The flood control channels will experience a rise in water levels. It is important to remember that the water in rivers, streams and the channels will be fast flowing during and after the rainfall event.
The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority will continue to closely monitor stream flows across the watershed.
The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority would like to extend a warning to residents and visitors to use extreme caution when close to rivers, creeks and channels. Potential increases in water levels and flows can be especially dangerous and stream banks can be slippery. Please keep children and pets away from fast flowing rivers and streams.
This bulletin will be updated if conditions warrant.
This statement is in effect until Monday November 24, 2014.