(North Bay April 17, 2019)   It’s the rain event we were hoping wouldn’t come, but with 35 to 55mm of rain and warmer temperatures adding to the spring melt, this weather system will tip the scale and bring flooding to area rivers and streams, prompting North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) to issue a Flood Watch.

Flood watch notifies that the potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities.  Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.

“We expect flooding in area streams and rivers due to the timing, duration and amount of rain expected during this weather event, together with several watershed conditions.  We have above average water levels in watercourses and above average snow pack depth and water content which will melt more quickly with the rain and higher temperatures expected during this event,” said Kurtis Romanchuk, NBMCA’s Duty Officer.

A Colorado low combined with a Texas low is moving into the area, bringing the warmer temperatures and substantial precipitation. It is expected to move across northeastern Ontario tonight, continuing on Thursday and Friday, before leaving the province later in the weekend.  Between 35mm and 55mm of rain is forecast over the weekend, with the majority forecasted for Wednesday night and early Thursday morning.  Temperatures are expected to be in the 0-10°C range.

The snowpack held approximately 123mm of water as of the most recent survey on April 15 which is 425% of the long-term average for this time of year. 

The gauges NBMCA monitors on Chippewa Creek, Wasi River, LaVase River, and Amable du Fond River show all are above average.  Urban watercourses such as Chippewa Creek and Parks Creek and smaller watercourses will rise more quickly during this event.  Lake Nipissing has been rising, but is not expected to flood at this time. 

Lake Nipissing water levels are being monitored.  As the snow and water content in the upper watershed release and make their way to the lakes, we may see some changes there in a few weeks’ time

“As this event seeps through the system, lake levels rise, and shift from frozen to flowing over the next week we should see the ice on the lakes rise and pose some challenges for shorelines.  We’ll be monitoring the lake levels and advising the public as those conditions change,” added Romanchuk.

Ice conditions are already hazardous and conditions will become even more so wherever creeks or rivers enter lakes. With the increased flow, shorelines and banks will be slippery and the public should stay away from those areas.

All residents, especially those in low lying areas, are encouraged to monitor the conditions that are developing.  Municipalities are encouraged to monitor water crossings to ensure the continual movement of water through culverts and bridges.

Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks become very slippery with precipitation and melting conditions, and areas of open water near lakes are expected to expand due to the incoming rainfall and snowmelt.  Parents are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from watercourses and waterbodies.

Staff at the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority will continue to monitor weather and watershed conditions and provide updates if conditions change.

The general public is advised of these messages through the www.nbmca.ca website with the flood status icon and a link to information about current conditions.  NBMCA also circulates these messages to local media and social media, posting on twitter @theNBMCA and facebook NBMCA.

The public is invited to share photos of watershed conditions on social media using #NBMCAFlood.

This message will be in effect until (or updated before) Tuesday, April 24, 4:00pm.



Kurtis Romanchuk, Duty Officer, 705 474-5420
Sue Buckle, Supervisor Communications & Outreach, 705 474-5420 ext 2010 cell: 705 497-4999

Terminology: Notification Levels

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT: general notices of potential flooding or other conditions that pose a safety risk. There are two kinds of statements:

Water Safety indicates that high flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for users such as anglers, boaters, swimmers, children or pets. Flooding is not expected.

Flood Outlook gives early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.

FLOOD WATCH notifies that the potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.

FLOOD WARNING: Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities and individuals should take action to deal with flood conditions. This may include road closures and evacuations.