ERCA Issues Flood Outlook

The Essex Region Conservation Authority is alerting the community to the potential of flooding in the next few days.

It's issued a Flood outlook and Water Safety notice.

ERCA says with the large amount of snow that's expected to melt combined wiht rain in the forecast, flooding is likely.

As well the currently frozen waterways are expected to break up and be dangerous to be around.

ERCA Water Resources Engineer John Henderson says there's about a foot of snow across the entire region.

"As we start to melt, we're going to start to see runoff being created and the snow causes 2 things.  It creates the runoff but it also blocks the opportunity for that runoff to shed the properties and get to the waterways"

Henderson says there's ice cover in the bottom of the drains in the region.

"That limits the ability for those waterways to even move the water when they do start to flow.  There's also the potential for the ice to start to break up and move down the streams into areas where there's bridges and culverts which could ultimately cause some blockages as well"

He says ice on area waterways is treacherous.

"It was somewhat fractured and with water now potentially going to be flowing down these systems under that ice they could start to break up and it just is not a safe place to be, so it may look safe from the top but you just neve know how thick or how solid that ice is"

Henderson says if the melt is gradual and there isn;t a lot of rain we could avoid flooding problems, but he adds weather systems recently have been more unpredictable.

Property owners are being asked to inspect catch basins to make sure they're free of debris