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MURPHFLOOD

Saturated ground, rising temps prompt flood risk in the east


Andrea Bagley
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, April 12, 2016, 11:02 AM - "The ground, already near saturation, has little ability to absorb further rainfall." That's a warning from Environment Canada, and a warning that many residents in eastern Canada are facing with an unsettled week of wet weather.

It's that time of year where the ground is highly frozen or completely saturated and unable to take much more in the way of moisture, especially in areas that still have a significant snow pack.

A series of systems through March and April have increased the flood risk across parts of Ontario and the Maritimes. Double digit temperatures expected later this week, could also pose a threat with the risk of rapidly melting snow pack.

"Water levels and flows across much of south central, eastern and the lower portion of northeastern Ontario are expected to remain elevated through the week from past precipitation and snow melt. Runoff from the remaining snow pack will increase through the week as temperatures increase and contribute to or maintain existing high water levels through the Muskokas, in the Algonquin and Pembroke District watersheds," warns Ontario's MNRF Districts and Conservation Authorities. "Further north, significant snow melt will start to occur, and water levels and flows can be expected to increase as the snow pack ripens and begins to release water."

With temperatures gradually warming throughout the week, officials warn of the initial start of ice breakup expected over a "large portion of the province."

Flood watch vs Flood warning

  • Flood warning: flooding is imminent or already occurring
  • Flood watch: there is the potential for flooding
  • Watershed conditions statements: flood Outlook (an early notice of the potential for flooding based on heavy rain, snow melt etc.) and water safety information.

New Brunswick's Emergency Measures Organization has also posted similar warnings urging residents to stay off of waterways and away from the banks of rivers, streams and tributaries.

A slow moving system bringing upwards of 30 mm to the region may result in localized flooding as the ground is already saturated in some areas.

"Water levels remain high and currents are fast and cold," officials warn.

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