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GRCA issues flood watch for Thursday, February 16

Local NewsGRCA issues flood watch for Thursday, February 16

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) is issuing the following Flood Watch message for the entire Grand River watershed due to the anticipated runoff and potential for ice movement associated with the incoming weather system.

Warm temperatures are forecast through Thursday afternoon, combined with 35-50 mm of mixed precipitation across the Grand River watershed. While uncertainty exists with the forecast, temperatures and precipitation amounts are expected to be higher in the southern watershed. These conditions are expected to result in a partial melt of the snowpack, causing runoff into local waterways and increasing the risk of minor flooding in low-lying areas. Temperatures will drop below freezing by Thursday evening.  

While most local waterways are ice covered, there are no significant ice jams in place at the present time. Significant flooding is not anticipated with this event, however, the potential for flooding due to ice jams remains wherever ice is present in the river system. Some movement of ice, particularly in smaller streams in the southern watershed is likely, and localized movement of ice on larger rivers is possible. Flood Coordinators are being asked to monitor those areas typically prone to ice jams.  

Residents who typically experience spring flooding should be prepared as conditions can change quickly and without warning. Further, residents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with local municipal flood response programs and be prepared for flooding due to the elevated risk with this event. 

GRCA reservoirs 

GRCA reservoirs are at their normal operating level for this time of year and conditions are being monitored closely. The GRCA’s major dams are being operated to mitigate downstream flooding and reduce frazil ice generation where possible in an effort to help decrease the potential for ice jams downstream.

Unsafe ice conditions 

This weather event has the potential to create extremely unsafe ice conditions. The public is asked to stay off all unmonitored water bodies due to unsafe conditions. 

Ice conditions can change quickly due to underwater currents, air and water temperature, wind, and precipitation. Accessing frozen natural water bodies puts both the public and municipal first responders at risk. Anyone who falls through the ice could experience hypothermia and death within minutes.  

Stay safe 

Banks adjacent to local waterways are very slippery and, when combined with cold, fast-moving water, pose a serious hazard. Parents are encouraged to keep children and pets away from all water bodies. 

This message will remain in effect until 4:30 p.m. on Friday, February 18, 2022 and will be updated if necessary. 

More information from the GRCA

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