Water Safety Statement issued January 27, 2020

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Message #2020-09

Issued: 4:00 p.m., Monday January 27, 2020

SUBJECT: WATERSHED  CONDITIONS STATEMENT – WATER SAFETY  issued for all watercourses / waterbodies in the geographical jurisdiction of Otonabee Conservation.  In addition, the FLOOD WATCH issued on January 24th for the Otonabee River is hereby cancelled. 

ISSUED TO: Municipalities of Selwyn, Douro-Dummer, Asphodel-Norwood, Otonabee-South Monaghan, Cavan Monaghan, City of Kawartha Lakes, City of Peterborough and Trent Hills, and Otonabee Conservation’s other partners in flood emergency management.

A Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety is issued when high flows, ice or other factors could be dangerous, but flooding is not expected.

FRAZIL ICE EVENT RE-CAP:  On the weekend of January 10th through 12th, an intense winter storm invaded Southern Ontario bringing with it warm air temperatures and a month’s worth of rain / freezing rain. This resulted in increased inflows from the Haliburton Lakes to the Kawartha Lakes. These inflows refilled the Kawartha Lakes part way through their winter drawdown period, resulting in a loss of storage capacity on the Kawartha Lakes. The Trent-Severn Waterway responded by spilling excess water from the Kawartha Lakes downstream through the Otonabee River causing turbulent water flows on the Otonabee River. Starting around January 17th, an extremely cold air mass invaded the Region. Cold air temperatures combined with turbulent flows resulted in the generation of frazil ice crystals that jammed downstream of Lock #19 (Lansdowne Street). The frazil ice jam caused a rise in the water level behind the jam that flooded several low-lying development areas including Michaels Crescent, Jones Road, Cedar Bank Road, Greenwood Road and Willow Road. Subsequent milder air temperatures and a reduction in turbulent flows translated to a slow release of the ice jam and corresponding slow recession in water levels on the Otonabee River.

According to the Water Survey of Canada hydrometric station located near Robinsons Island, the level of the Otonabee River was 8.4 meters on January 14th. As a result of frazil ice jamming, the Otonabee near Robinsons Island rose 1.16 metres to its peak on January 21st.  Currently, the water level reads 8.55 meters. With water levels on the Otonabee River no longer being affected by frazil ice, the Trent-Severn Waterway has started to regain loss storage on the Kawartha Lakes by increasing water outflows on the Otonabee River.

CURRENT WATERSHED CONDITIONS and RISK:  All area watercourses and waterbodies are experiencing abnormally high water levels / flows and ice-covered banks. In addition to dangerously high water levels / flows and slippery banks, ice-cover (if any) is weak and water temperatures are extremely cold. It is most important, therefore, that area residents and visitors stay SAFE by Staying Away From the Edge of all watercourses / waterbodies – lakes, canals, rivers, streams, creeks, wetlands and drainage ditches.    


Gord Earle| Flood Forecasting & Warning Duty Officer | 705-745-5791 x 214

250 Milroy Drive, Peterborough, ON K9H 7M9

orcafloodduty@otonabeeconservation.com | Flood Watch Hotline 705-745-5791 x 228