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It’s not all sunshine as warm weather upends winter

Conservation Authority cautions residents as big melt pours into waterways

Viewers of Buffalo news stations might have begun wondering when Thorold and the rest of Niagara should begin battening down the hatches in anticipation of widespread flooding following a sudden rise in temperatures the past few days, but as of Monday morning, the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority didn’t believe there was enough water on the ground to pose an immediate threat.

Melting snow and ice caused havoc in Buffalo and the area south of the city as rivers and streams clogged with half-melted chunks of ice while melting snow raised the waterline enough to raise flooding concerns.

But while Niagara is relatively close to our American neighbours, we just didn’t get enough of the white stuff to warrant the same concern here. Earlier in the day Monday, NPCA spokesperson Michael Reles said the Authority was monitoring water levels, but hadn’t yet seen waters rise high enough to warrant anything other than normal precautions.

He said most of Niagara didn’t receive the same levels of snowfall as the Buffalo area with the exceptions of Fort Erie, Port Colborne and Wainfleet. Although the northern shore of Lake Erie did receive similar amounts of snow to Buffalo, he said those areas drain quickly into the great lake without gathering in smaller streams and rivers as it would further inland.

“But you never know,” he said, adding some rain was expected overnight Monday.

As if on cue, the Authority issued a notice later in the day advising it had raised its flood status condition to yellow (second level of a four-level flood status advisory system).

The Authority states on its website that as much as 5-10 millimetres of rain is expected between now and Thursday and may “destabilize the ice within our local watercourses.”

The Authority continues that waterways such as 12 Mile Creek in Pelham and Thorold have peaked and have begun to recede, but that there may be localized flooding in areas where flooding has been a problem in the past as the snow melt continues and rain contributes to total amounts of precipitation.

“In addition, the increasing water levels will destabilize the existing ice and will raise the possibility of ice jam flooding. Residents are urged to keep themselves, children and pets well away from streams and creeks as these watercourses and their associated ice conditions will be hazardous. Drivers are reminded there is an increased risk of water over roads and should not drive through any flooded roadway, being particularly careful at night. Local municipalities are advised to check for debris and ice clogging culverts, catch basins, and other storm infrastructure,” the Authority states on its website.

Flood status updates are available on the Conservation Authority’s website at