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Cataraqui Authority warns of high water

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The forecasted warm weather and rain for Sunday and Monday have prompted the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) to issue a water-safety warning.

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Water levels are now high and the anticipated rain and melting snow will add to the problem, the authority said in a statement Friday.

The water managers who operate dams on inland lakes in the region have turned on the taps to pass high flows through the system in an effort to keep water levels within targets for this time of year, it said.

“These flows are being managed to mitigate, as much as possible, the impacts from the expected melt and rainfall,” the authority said. “As a result, water levels on inland lakes and streams may rise for several days.”

Although widespread flooding is not expected, the CRCA is urging caution around all dams and fast-flowing watercourses.

The public is warned to obey all warning signs and keep away from booms, buoys and barriers.

“Stay well back from the water’s edge above and below dams and hydroelectric stations,” it warned the public. “Creek banks and lake shorelines may be slippery, increasing the chance of falling in.”

The weatherman is predicting rainfall of between 10 and 40 mm, and some forecasters are saying more.

Temperatures are expected to rise above zero on Sunday, peaking at 7C or 8C on Monday before falling back to zero on Tuesday.

That rain will come on top of a snow pack that is about 60 mm in water content above average, the authority said.

Creek levels and flows are already high because of recent snow runoff and rain while the ground remains frozen.

The forecasted temperatures and rainfall are expected to cause further water level and flow increases.

Due to the high flows, ice formation on lakes can be very unsafe, it said. Ice conditions can vary considerably from one water body to the next.

wlowrie@postmedia.com

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