Local Flood Emergency Planning Continues

(left to right) Davin Heinbuck, Water Resources Coordinator, Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority; Stephen Jackson, Flood and Erosion Safety Services Coordinator, Maitland Valley Conservation Authority; and Chris Harrow, Fire Chief, Town of Minto. (Bob Montgomery photo)

The water resources coordinator for the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority says one of the messages that came out of the recent Flood Emergency Planning meeting was the importance of local precipitation data.

Davin Heinbuck says we haven’t experienced many serious flooding incidents in the past few years until this year when there has been three.

Heinbuck says the flooding in February could have been much worse, had we received the amount of rain that was predicted.

He says it’s important to have as comprehensive a network as possible because it allows them to find gaps between their existing stream gauges where they monitor for rainfall.

The problem is those gauges are so scattered throughout the watershed, they’re often missing some of the most intensive rainfall. He adds volunteer weather watchers are invaluable in the gaps.

Heinbuck also explains they’ve recently revised the flood warnings they issue. The first message the Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority issues is a Watershed Condition Statement, and typically they put those out a few days before they’re expecting anything to happen.

The next message that they put out is a flood watch and that’s when they’re starting to become more certain of what the rainfall pattern and total amounts might be.

If they have something imminent or occurring they’ll issue a flood warning. Heinbuck adds those messages are also consistent with the messaging used by Environment Canada.