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Rising water levels prompt flood watch in North Bay district

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As water levels rise, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) issued a flood watch Saturday afternoon for the North Bay District and Mattawa area.

Rising water levels in the Town of Mattawa in May 2023. (File photo/Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)

The warning is in effect until Friday.

With the increased amount of rainfall throughout the region, water levels and flows are increasing, responding to runoff produced by the rain.

“District watercourses are starting to reach their maximum ranges for this time of year,” said ministry officials in a news release.

“Lakes in the northern reaches of the district still have some ice and some snow may be present in sheltered areas. The ground is saturated to frozen throughout the district, leaving it unable to absorb much, if any, of the precipitation.”

A MNRF flood watch means there is the potential for flooding within specific watercourses and municipalities.

Officials said no widespread flooding is expected at this time, however, water levels and flows in rivers and lakes have increased – flooding is possible in low-lying areas and areas with poor drainage.

A Texas low is expected to exit the area Saturday afternoon but had brought with it “the bitter taste of winter.”

“Strong to gale force winds overnight slowly die through the day as the tightly compressed system exits across the Quebec border,” said ministry experts.

“Winds gusting to over 60 km/h will slowly ease by late morning but northwesterly winds driving the colder air southwards brings snow back to areas from the higher terrain in Algonquin Park northwards.”

Total snowfall over the weekend in the district will range from trace up to 5 cm, according to the ministry’s news release.

“A close watch on local conditions and weather forecasts from Environment Canada is recommended,” said the ministry.

Safety first

The MNFR said all residents in the North Bay District area should keep a close watch on conditions and exercise caution around rivers and streams.

“Please alert and monitor any children under your care to possible dangers and supervise their activities,” said officials.

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