Mild temperatures accompanied by rainfall in the region this week prompted officials at the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) to issue a flood warning for New Hamburg and a number of advisories for other areas in the Waterloo Region, including West Montrose.
Rapidly melting snow increased river flows throughout the Grand River watershed Wednesday and Thursday, increasing the potential for flooding of low-lying areas and ice jams in other areas.
While temperatures dropped later in the week, river levels are expected to remain high through the weekend.
In Woolwich Township, the low-lying bridge in St. Jacobs was closed, and residents are encouraged to keep a watchful eye in the next few days.
“People in West Montrose, in particular, need to be paying very close attention to what’s going on in the river,” said GRCA spokesman Dave Schultz.
Ice jams near the covered bridge in West Montrose are typical at this time of year; though the river remains iced up for the most part, the recent thaw could be eroding the ice from the bottom. In any event, ensuing freeze-thaw cycles could exacerbate the problem.
“There’s still a lot of winter left, so we could still generate a lot of snow between now and the usual spring thaw, which usually comes in March and April.”
Current information on warnings and river conditions can be found on the GRCA’s website at www.grandriver.ca.
The GRCA warns that high water levels and unstable ice conditions on lakes and streams pose a hazard. Parents are reminded to keep children and pets away from lakes and watercourses. A pamphlet on river safety for children is available on the GRCA website in the “Education” section.