NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – May 08, 2022

News Type: 
Water monitoring bulletin

The Government of the Northwest Territories maintains water monitoring stations across the territory to keep track of water levels and flow rates in areas of potential flood risk for communities.

This information is provided regularly to territorial and regional emergency managers to help understand the status of waterways across the NWT in the lead-up to, and during spring break-up – the highest-risk period for floods in the Northwest Territories.

This is the latest summary and technical data.

Technical data

Northwest Territories

Current status

  • The Town of Hay River and K'atl'odeeche First Nation have issued Evacuation Orders for certain areas;
  • Provisional water levels recorded at the Hay River near Hay River gauge are higher than the peak from last year;
  • All tributaries to the Hay River are recording water levels higher than the ice-induced peak earlier this week, and continue to rise in response to high precipitation amounts;
  • Climate models are suggesting an additional 10-40 mm of precipitation over the Hay River basin;
  • ENR gauges recorded just over 30 mm of rain around Hay River yesterday;
  • It is rare for a precipitation event of this magnitude to coincide with break up;
  • The potential for further/continued flooding remains high as ice and water continue to move down the Hay River;
  • Ice on the Liard River is moving in sections around Fort Liard;
  • The Dehcho (Mackenzie River) is open in small sections (around Fort Providence and Strong Point);
  • Neither the Dehcho (Mackenzie River) nor the Liard River have broken at Fort Simpson as of May 08 at 12:00;
  • Cool temperatures are forecast over the Dehcho region until Wednesday.

 

Hay River

Current status

  • Evacuation orders have been issued by the Town of Hay River for Vale Island and by K'atl'odeeche First Nation (Old Village and Lower Village/Wolf Drive area);
  • Provisional water levels recorded at the Hay River near Hay River gauge are higher than the peak from last year;
  • Ice continues to move downstream along the Hay River into Town;
  • A low-pressure system continues to sit over the Hay River basin with ongoing precipitation continuing to Monday;
    • Climate models are estimating an additional 10-40 mm of precipitation falling as a mix of rain and snow;
  • ENR rain gauges in Hay River and Enterprise recorded 33 mm and 32 mm of rain respectively yesterday (May 07);
    • High Level (AB) recorded 39 mm of rain between Friday and Saturday;
  • Water levels on Hay River tributaries continue to rise and have passed the ice-influenced peaks from earlier this week;
  • The response of water levels on the Hay River and its tributaries to precipitation is very rapid at this time of year due to low basin storage and frozen ground;
  • Refer to the Town of Hay River website for the most up-to-date information, as well as webcam images of current conditions.

Image of Hay River near Hay River on May 8 2022. Very high water and ice flow over land
Above – Hay River near the Town of Hay River hydrometric gauge photo on May 07 at 11:00. Photo courtesy of Water Survey of Canada and GNWT.

 

Liard river

Current status

  • The Liard River at Fort Liard is currently open as ice shifted downstream sometime overnight;
  • As of yesterday afternoon, there was an open water section on the Liard River beginning just downstream of the Poplar River for about 15 kilometres;
  • Ice on the Liard River at Fort Simpson is still stationary as of 12:00 today;
  • Water levels are climbing slowly on the Liard River.

Image of the Liard River at Fort Liard. Open water with some ice coverage
Above – Liard River at Fort Liard hydrometric gauge photo from May 08 at 11:00. Photo courtesy of Water Survey of Canada and GNWT

Slave River/Great Slave Lake/Dehcho (Mackenzie River)

Current status

  • Break up is progressing along the Peace River and the Slave River;
  • There have been reports of an ice jam on the Slave River at km 10 as of May 06;
  • Ice moved locally on the Dehcho (Mackenzie River) at Fort Providence, and around Mackenzie River (between Jean Marie River and Fort Simpson);
  • As of yesterday (May 07) at 14:00, ice was still solid at Jean-Marie River. There is open water and broken ice from the Rabbitskin River to just downstream of Green Island (~25 km) where a small ice jam has formed;
  • Ice on the Dehcho near Fort Simpson remains stationary as of May 08 at 12:00;
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada has forecast cloudy conditions with below normal temperatures until Wednesday.

Image of Dehcho River at Strong Point. Open water with significant ice coverage remaining
Above – Dehcho (Mackenzie River) at Strong Point hydrometric gauge photo from May 08 at 11:00. Photo courtesy of Water Survey of Canada and GNWT.