The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority would like to issue a statement to residents in regard to current watershed conditions.
Recent weather has seen an increase in temperatures and some precipitation. The current forecast is for a few days of continued warming and more rainfall. No significant rainfall is anticipated. Following the warm temperatures, the forecast indicates a return to colder weather with snow.
Warm temperatures have resulted in an early melting of the snowpack. The snowpack depth and water content are above normal conditions. The ground is not frozen and the meltwater has been both evaporating with recent warm temperatures and entering the ground. These two circumstances result in little meltwater flowing into local waterways.
In low lying areas, such as wetlands, increased runoff into waterways has been occurring as there is less capacity for the water to enter the ground. Streams in these areas have shown an increase in flows.
Water levels in local rivers are well below critical levels and flooding is not anticipated. As melt continues and anticipated rainfalls are received, local rivers, streams and the flood control channels may experience a rise in water levels and flows.
The flood control channels owned and maintained by the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority are flowing and some melt water is entering the system. The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority will be closely monitoring stream flows across the watershed.
It is important to remember that the water in local rivers, streams and channels is extremely cold, some with intermittent ice cover. 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 rivers and streams.
This statement is in effect until Saturday February 25, 2017.