Warm weather continues, local flooding only: MNRF

GRAVENHURST — This week’s warm spell — which is to continue into March — won’t mean widespread flooding.

However, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has issued a “Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook bulletin” for the Muskoka and Parry Sound areas, which remains in effect until Tuesday, February 27, at noon.

Residents and visitors should exercise caution while around water bodies and maintain close supervision of children and pets.

The MNRF says that combined with the potential for a significant amount of rainfall for the next couple of days, recent mild temperatures and snow melt, localized flooding may occur in low lying areas.  Ice break up may occur due to increased stream flows with the potential for ice jams and related flooding.

Current water levels and flows are normal for this time of year, they say, but are anticipated to rise due to warm temperatures, rain and rapid snow melt.

Current snow conditions in the Muskoka and Parry Sound are slightly above average for this time of year.

The area is blanketed with an average of 43cm of snow depth containing 111mm of snow water content.

Continued snowmelt and runoff due to forecast warm temperatures and rainfall will result in continued high flows and levels depending on current stream condition locally. Combined runoff from the rainfall and snowmelt might result in continued or increasing high water levels and localised flooding in low lying areas.

Daytime highs are forecasted to continue to be above average for the remainder of the week and into March with daytime highs ranging from 0 to 3°C. Overnight lows are forecasted to stay below freezing ranging from -2°C to -9°C for the remainder of February.

Meanwhile, the Town of Gravenhurst is also encouraging residents and visitors to be extremely diligent when venturing near water and streams as well as traveling along roads in low lying areas.

Of course, people who live in areas where flooding has historically been a concern should take extra caution.

Residents are reminded to maintain close supervision of children and pets while around water bodies.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – Parry Sound District is advising area residents that a Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook is in effect for the District, which includes the District Municipality of Muskoka, the Territorial District of Parry Sound and a north-west portion in the County of Haliburton.

Residents within the Parry Sound-Muskoka area are urged to keep a close watch on conditions, regularly check for updated messages and exercise caution around water bodies as flows and levels within rivers and streams continue to increase in the coming days.

Although flooding is not expected at this time, residents may wish to consider taking action to secure or protect any property in flood-prone or vulnerable areas.

It is expected that lower-lying portions of known flood-prone roads along river courses will be impacted to various degrees as river levels remain high over the next few days.

With cooler temperatures, banks and shorelines adjacent to water bodies are extremely slippery and unstable.

Travelling on the newly formed ice should be avoided.

The MNRF also advises extreme caution when using forest access roads for outdoor activities as many are seasonally inundated with water, prone to washouts and may be impassible due to current water levels.  MNRF is closely monitoring the weather and developing watershed conditions. Further updates will be issued as appropriate.


Description of Weather System

This message is being sent based on information received from MNRF – Surface Water Monitoring Centre, MNRF – Aviation Forest Fire and Emergency Management Services and Environment Canada.

Significant rainfall continued into Wednesday morning.

Several rounds of rain will continue today and tonight giving rainfall amounts of 25 to locally 40 mm by Wednesday morning.

Since very mild conditions are accompanying the rain, considerable snowmelt is 2 anticipated. As a result, localized flooding is likely in low-lying areas.

This wet, record mild spell is attributed to a series of low pressure systems moving along a warm front draped across the lower Great Lakes. A final band of rain is likely following a cold front on Wednesday, bringing the rain to an end. However, multi-day rainfall totals in the 30 to 50 mm range are likely in some areas.

Temperatures climbed above freezing on Monday and are forecasted to peak on Tuesday where SW Ontario will see daytime highs in the low teens.

Overnight lows are expected to remain above freezing for the entire three-day period for areas south of a line from Muskoka to Pembroke.

Terminology: Notification Levels

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – WATER SAFETY: indicates that high flows, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for such users as boaters, anglers and swimmers but flooding is not expected.

WATERSHED CONDITIONS STATEMENT – FLOOD OUTLOOK: gives early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high winds or other conditions

FLOOD WATCH: potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities

FLOOD WARNING: flooding is imminent or occurring within specific watercourses and municipalities.

For more information please contact:

Parry Sound District MNRF Water Management Department

By calling 705-646-5531 or by email at watermanagement.psdistrict@ontario.ca

A close watch on local conditions and weather forecasts from Environment Canada is recommended.

Environment Canada bulletins can be found at http://weather.gc.ca/

The Surface Water Monitoring Centre public webpage can be found here: http://www.ontario.ca/flooding

For more information on weather conditions refer to Environment Canada bulletins at:  www.weather.gc.ca

For more information on Surface Water Monitoring, visit www.ontario.ca/flooding