The Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority and the City of Sault Ste. Marie would like to issue the following water safety bulletin and statement to residents in regard to current watershed conditions.
The weather forecast for the next few days indicates a warming trend with a chance of up to 25 mm of rain from Wednesday to Friday.
The snowpack measurements across the watershed is averaging a snow depth of 36.8 inches or 93.5 cm. The water equivalent or the amount of water contained in the snowpack is averaging 223 mm. This water content is not above the long-term average for this time of year. The snow surveys and measurements are completed every two weeks by the conservation authority in areas not affected by snow compaction or plowing.
Much of the anticipated precipitation will be absorbed into the existing snowpack but some runoff will occur with the associated warm temperatures.
Currently, local rivers, creeks and streams are flowing at normal levels. Snowmelt, from the warmer temperatures and runoff from the rainfall will cause levels and flows to rise across the watershed. We do not anticipate flooding in local watercourses as a result of the increased water levels and flows.
The flood control channels owned and maintained by the Sault Ste. Marie Region Conservation Authority are not currently flowing but as the snowmelt begins, flows will result. When the water begins to flow, it may be occurring below the snow and may not be visible. This presents a possible hazard to the public.
The City’s Public Works and Engineering Department has been working on addressing the winter weather experienced earlier this week and are managing drainage concerns as the week progresses. Snow continues to be removed from the main arteries and safety sensitive areas in an effort to expose catch basins and traffic sight lines. Cutting back the roads is necessary and will be done on a priority basis. As the City has over 8800 catch basins, urgent locations will be first while continuing to work through the City as required. Calls regarding drainage concerns may be directed to 705-759-5201 and responses will be prioritized. The City appreciates the patience of the community.
Residents and visitors are urged to stay away from the flood control channels and all waterways during the spring. Flows can be especially dangerous and stream banks can be slippery. Please keep children and pets away from waterways during this time.
This statement is in effect until March 16, 2019.