Flood Status

Conservation Halton Issues a Spring Safety Message: Exercise Caution Near Waterways

MEDIA RELEASE 

March 11, 2022

BURLINGTON - Conservation Halton reminds residents of the dangers that can exist near streams, rivers, ponds, and lakes around this time of year, and urges people to keep family and pets away from any water’s edge.

Although Conservation Halton’s watershed had a slow start to the winter season, the months of January and February experienced higher than normal snowfall amounts, as well as periods of milder weather and rain-on-snow events, resulting in increased water levels and the breakup of ice cover within our local watercourses. Daytime high air temperatures have begun trending above zero degrees Celsius, which will further contribute to the melting of remaining snow and ice cover within our jurisdiction.

While Conservation Halton has always encouraged everyone to get outside and is pleased to see a continued community interest in exploring the outdoors, it is important that residents are aware of the dangers that exist around water, especially as we approach spring.

Warming temperatures and melting snow, combined with spring rainfall and frozen ground conditions can lead to higher and faster flowing water in local watercourses. Slippery and unstable streambanks and cold-water temperatures can also lead to dangerous conditions close to any body of water. Any remaining ice cover on watercourses, lakeshore areas or other bodies of water is considered weak and unstable with warmer temperatures. Safety and flooding risks will continue in the upcoming weeks during the transition to spring.

Be safe this spring and remember the following tips:

• Keep family and pets away from the edges of all bodies of water.
• Avoid all recreational activities in or around water, especially near ice jams or ice-covered watercourses and waterbodies—including municipally managed stormwater ponds.
• Do not attempt to walk on ice-covered waterbodies or drive through flooded roads or fast-moving water.
• If you live close to the water, move objects such as chairs or benches away from the water’s edge to avoid losing them during potential spring high water.
• Avoid walking close to and across riverbanks and ice-covered water to prevent falling through.

For more information, contact your local Conservation Authority.

• Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority (905) 895-1281
• Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (416) 661-6514
• Conservation Halton (905) 336-1158
• Credit Valley Conservation (905) 670-1615
• Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority (905) 579-0411
• Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (905) 885-8173
• Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority (705) 424-1479
• Kawartha Conservation (705) 328-2271

About Conservation Halton’s Flood Forecasting and Operations Program

Conservation Halton provides a flood forecasting and operations program to reduce the risk of property damage and loss of life due to flooding.

When flooding is possible or about to occur, Conservation Halton issues flood messages to municipal emergency management officials, school boards, police, and EMS as well as the media. The municipal officials then take action to warn local residents.

Conservation Halton is responsible for the maintenance and operation of four major flood control dams (Kelso, Hilton Falls, Scotch Block and Mountsberg) and over 12 kilometers of flood conveyance channels (Sixteen Mile Creek through Milton, Morrison-Wedgewood diversion in Oakville and the Hager-Rambo diversion in Burlington).

Conservation Halton is the community based environmental agency that protects, restores, and manages the natural resources in its watershed. The organization has staff that includes ecologists, land use planners, engineers, foresters, and educators, along with a network of volunteers, who are guided by a Board of Directors comprised of municipally elected and appointed citizens. Conservation Halton is recognized for its stewardship of creeks, forests and Niagara Escarpment lands through science-based programs and services.

CONTACTS:

Glenn Farmer
Manager, Flood Forecasting & Operations
Mobile: 647-458-1046
gfarmer@hrca.on.ca

Andrea Arrogante
Communications Specialist
Mobile: 905-693-2083
aarrogante@hrca.on.ca

Please Note: You can also find an electronic version of this media release on the Conservation Halton’s flood forecasting web page: https://www.conservationhalton.ca/flood-forecasting

 

Conservation Halton Flood Terminology

The current terminology was adopted by Conservation Halton, other Conservation Authorities across Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) in February, 2012. The change is to ensure flood messages are consistent and in line with severe weather terminology used by other agencies such as Environment Canada and the Weather Network. The terms were developed by a committee of representatives of Conservation Authorities, Conservation Ontario, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, Environment Canada, and other agencies.

The following is the flood and water safety message terminology used by Conservation Halton:

Normal:
Conditions are within normal limits. No flooding is expected.

 

Watershed Conditions Statement:
A general notice of weather conditions that could pose a risk to personal safety or which have the potential to lead to flooding. There are two variations of these:

Watershed Conditions Statement - Water Safety:
High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice, or other factors could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, and others. Flooding is not expected
Watershed Conditions Statement - Flood Outlook:
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 and cause ice jams.
Flood Watch:
Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or 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.