As spring approaches 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.
February experienced colder air temperatures and lots of snow. This resulted in the formation of river ice in local watercourses as well as a large amount of snowpack. Daytime high air temperatures have already begun trending above zero degrees Celsius, which will contribute to the gradual decrease of the snowpack amount and current river ice cover.
“While Conservation Halton has always encouraged everyone to get outside and has been pleased to see the amount of community interest in exploring the outdoors during the ongoing pandemic, it is important that residents are aware of the dangers that exist around water, especially as we approach spring,” advises Glenn Farmer, Manager of Flood Forecasting and Operations, Conservation Halton.
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 extremely cold-water temperatures can also lead to dangerous conditions close to any body of water. Ice and snow cover on watercourses, lakeshore areas or other bodies of water will weaken and become 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.
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).