One of the rainiest Januarys on record is contributing to the ongoing problem of high water levels on Lake Ontario and the upper St. Lawrence River, according to the Cataragui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA).
A water safety statement that has been in effect since Dec. 5 was extended on Wednesday. The lake-wide level as of last week was about 0.5 metres above average for this time of year, and the CRCA indicated the level continues to rise.
The International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board reported that outflows through the Moses-Saunders Dam would continue to be maximized whenever possible.
“However, flow reductions are necessary during periods of ice formation to facilitate a safe and stable ice cover,” officials added.
The board also stated that Lake Ontario would likely continue its seasonal rise as winter progresses.
“With higher than normal water levels, CRCA staff foresee a higher risk of ice damage along Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River shorelines through the winter months,” the conservation authority stated.
Recent weather events have led to reports of unsafe and unstable shoreline banks due to erosion. The high water and wave action has deposited debris along shorelines and beaches, CRCA staff noted.
The water safety statement is to remain in effect until March 25, unless circumstances warrant it being updated.