Conservation authority eyes Thunder Bay flooding potential

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority issued a flood outlook for the Thunder Bay area on Wednesday. It says the snow and rain forecast for Thursday could combine with melting snow and result in a rapid rise in water levels in low-lying areas.

Forecast calls for 24 mm of mixed precipitation Thursday, which could result in rapid rise in water levels

The Neebing-McIntyre Floodway in Thunder Bay was constructed to alleviate flooding that used to occur in the city. (Josh Lynn/CBC)

The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority is keeping an eye on water levels in rivers and streams in the Thunder Bay area.

It issued a flood outlook late Wednesday  to provide 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 or cause ice jams.

The LRCA said 24mm of mixed rain and snow is expected to fall on Thunder Bay on Thursday and that, combined with the melting snow, means water levels could rise rapidly.

"The threat of localized ponding and flooding exists in low-lying areas," the statement said.

The LRCA advised residents to exercise caution around waterways.

Milder weather has resulted in significant melting of the snow pack, but there is still an above-average snow pack in the upper watershed of the Lakehead area, the conservation authority said. Environment Canada forecast 10 to 15 cm. of snow for Thunder Bay from the system coming through on Thursday.

The advisory from the LRCA applies to the city of Thunder Bay and the rural communities of Neebing, Oliver-Paipoonge, Shuniah, O'Connor, Conmee, Gillies and Dorion.

The conservation authority said it would continue to monitor conditions and would provide updates as warranted.

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