Flood watch continues for Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte

Prince Edward County shorelines like this one on Weller's Bay are in danger for the second time in three springs due to elevated water levels. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

County making sandbags available for shoreline residents

JASON PARKS

STAFF WRITER

While a flood watch for the rivers in the Quinte Conservation Area watershed has been removed thanks to subsiding flows, a flood watch remains in effect for Lake Ontario and the Bay of Quinte.

A Flood Watch statement notifies that the potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services, and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.

On Tuesday, Quinte Conservation reported major river systems and tributaries including the Moira, Salmon, and Napanee Rivers have continued to decline since reaching their spring peaks at the end of April and, as such, there is no risk of flooding at this time.

However, Lake Ontario is expected to rise at least 14 cm throughout the upcoming week and water levels will continue to rise before peaking in late May or early June.

As of May 2, 2019, Lake Ontario was recorded at 47 cm above average for this time of year, which is 13 cm below the recorded level for May 2, 2017. This amount is 43 cm below the peak in 2017.

A sand bag station at the end of Hiscock Shores road. (Desirée Decoste/Gazette Staff)

According to Quinte Conservation, Lake Ontario water levels are influenced by uncontrolled, above average outflows from Lake Erie, local rainfall and runoff throughout the Lake Ontario Watershed as well as reduced Lake Ontario outflows in order to balance flooding impacts on the St. Lawrence River.

Record breaking water levels for this time of year have been recorded for Lake Erie and above average precipitation was received across the Great Lakes over the past three months.

Flood conditions continue on the lower St. Lawrence River as flows on the Ottawa River reached record highs.

Outflows from Lake Ontario will increase, as water levels rise, in accordance with the International Joint Commission’s Plan 2014 F-Limit. The current provisional forecasts suggest that Lake Ontario outflows will be increased by early next week.

Flooding and other high water impacts have been reported from areas of Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River during periods of strong winds. As high winds, storm surges, and waves can cause shoreline damage and wave uprush the County of Prince Edward is offering sandbags to residents who believe their primary residence is at risk of flooding as a precautionary measure, Sandbags and material will be available at four additional locations.

The sites include:

  • Waupoos Community Centre, 2699 County Road 8 in North Marysburgh
  • South Marysburgh Fire Hall, 3076 County Road 10
  • Hiscock Shores Road cul-de-sac in Hillier
  • Sunrise Drive cul-de-sac in Ameliasburgh

Sandbags and material are also available at:

  • 35 County Road 14 in Sophiasburgh
  • 15 Coleman Street in Ameliasburgh
  • 75 County Road 1 in Hallowell (Sandy Hook Dome)

Sandbags are available daily between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

The sandbags are self-serve, and residents must bring their own shovels to fill bags. The municipality is encouraging residents to be respectful of their neighbours when picking up supplies and only sandbag if their home is at risk of flooding.

Sandbags can be effective in protecting your residence. Sandbags are not intended to protect shorelines and accessory buildings. For more information on ways to protect your shoreline, contact the Quinte Conservation office and speak with expert staff in the planning and regulations department.

Boaters need to be cautious of floating debris and should take proper safety precautions when out on the water and shoreline residents are advised to either secure or remove loose items from their properties where there is a risk of encroaching flood water.

Quinte Conservation added it’s important that the public never wade through or play in flood water as it is extremely unsafe. Flood water can be contaminated with septic and hazardous debris.

The public is advised to obey any posted road closure signs and to check with their municipality for updates on road closures.  If you are concerned that your shoreline well or septic has been compromised, please contact your local health unit.

Do not drink the water and find an alternative water source to use.

This message does not apply to municipal drinking water systems.

Staff will continue to monitor conditions and will provide an update if forecasts and conditions change. For current water levels or to report any observations of flooding, residents are encouraged to visit QuinteConservation.ca.

In other nieghbouring flood watch news, the Lower Trent Conservation advises local municipalities and the public that the flood warning issued for Rice Lake and the Trent River from Hastings to Trenton is still in effect.

The LTC reports the Trent River system is still in full spring freshet.

Upper portions of the Trent River basin have seen declines in flows and the water levels have generally stabilized across the Kawartha Lakes. In the Lower Trent River watershed region, the rate of rise on Rice Lake has been declining and is stabilized as of Wednesday. The flows down the Trent River are being maintained at a constant rate and water levels along the river have stabilized as well.

There are no significant increases expected, but there will be minor fluctuations.

There is 30 – 40 mm of rain forecast for Thursday this week for the Trent River basin. Because of the rain, water levels are not expected to begin a decline until at least the end of the week.

Parks Canada – Ontario Waterways (Trent-Severn Waterway) will continue to operate the dams along the Trent River to facilitate flow to the Bay of Quinte. Lower Trent Conservation will be maintaining daily contact with Parks Canada, the Provincial Surface Water Monitoring Centre and neighbouring conservation authorities to ensure we are aware of all dam operations and conditions that may affect the water levels on local waterways.