Flooding possible for Ausable Bayfield Watershed

The Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority has issued a flood watch.

Heavy rains across Ausable Bayfield Conservation Authority watershed could cause flooding problems over the Easter weekend. A series of low-pressure systems have combined and will continue to pass through Southern Ontario over the next several days. A cold front is forecast to move across the ABCA watershed this afternoon, bringing with it the potential for heavy rainfall and isolated thunderstorms.

This weather system is forecast to deliver rainfall amounts in the range of 40-50 millimetres of rain beginning today, and lasting through Saturday morning. There is also the possibility of higher amounts of rainfall in localized areas.  This weather system, combined with very wet ground conditions from rainfall earlier this week, has the potential to result in quickly rising streamflows and flooding.

Based on the current forecast, major flooding is not anticipated at this time, but levels are likely to exceed bank full conditions, flooding traditional low-lying flood plains areas. River levels could exceed those experienced in early February of this year. If the higher end rainfall forecasts materialize or are exceeded, flooding impacts could be more widespread, including area roads that are prone to periodic flooding. Under this forecast scenario, streamflows are expected to peak on the smaller watercourses later on Friday, and on the larger rivers Saturday and through Sunday. As a result, flows will remain higher than normal into next week.

Municipal staff should continue to monitor local drainage problem areas and should remain on alert, in case the higher amounts of precipitation are received.

With the Easter long weekend events, residents are reminded to stay away from all watercourses. The cold water, combined with slippery and unstable stream banks, has created hazardous conditions near all waterways.