Kitchener-Waterloo

High risk of spring flooding, warns Grand River Conservation Authority

The Grand River Conservation Authority says there could be significant flooding this spring as a result of the high snow pack this winter and ice in local waterways.

Homeowners should be familiar with local flood response, says conservation authority

The Grand River Conservation Authority said there is a high risk of flooding this spring as a result of an above average accumulation of snow and ice along the Grand River watershed. (Matthew Kang/CBC)

There may be significant flooding on the way this spring throughout the Grand River watershed, according to the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA).

The GRCA released a flood outlook on Monday, saying the flood risk this spring is considered high as a result of above average snowpack this winter, as well as the amount of ice along local waterways.

A lot of the snowpack has remained in place since mid-December, GRCA said. 

"Despite the moderate start to winter through January, temperatures fell below the long-term average in February with much of the watershed seeing above average precipitation," GRCA said on its website.

"These conditions have resulted in a snowpack with higher than average water content and intact, but unsafe, ice conditions on many local water bodies."

GRCA adds ice conditions are less significant this year compared to 2018 and 2019, but ice jam related flooding is still possible.

The GRCA said minor ice jams have formed upstream of Highway 86 near the West Montrose area, downstream of Victoria Street, as well as the Freeport area in Kitchener.

Reservoirs are also at their normal level for this time of year, GRCA said.

"Environment Canada is predicting near normal temperatures for the watershed over the next three months and near normal precipitation which may contribute to the increased risk of flooding this spring," GRCA said, noting that the level of risk will rise if there is heavy rainfall mixed with a rapid snowmelt event.

The GRCA is recommending homeowners who typically experience spring flooding to be familiar with their local flood response programs and prepare for flooding as a result of elevated the risk this spring.

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