Flood risk 'moderate' in 6 regions, say Yukon officials

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The potential for flooding is due to higher-than-average snow pack in some parts of the territory this year. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
The potential for flooding is due to higher-than-average snow pack in some parts of the territory this year. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

Emergency officials in Yukon have identified six regions in the territory that are considered to be at "moderate" risk of flooding this spring.

That means there's about a ten and 30 per cent chance of flooding for those areas, said Holly Goulding, a senior hydrologist with the Yukon government.

The six areas are: Carmacks, Dawson/Rock Creek, Old Crow, Pelly Crossing, Ross River, and Upper Liard.

Flooding of any kind would be dependent on ice jams, rain and other weather conditions.

Goulding presented the latest information to media on Thursday, as part of a technical briefing from territorial officials ahead of the upcoming flood and wildfire season.

Some ice has now begun to break on smaller rivers in Yukon, which could mean a few especially volatile weeks ahead.

Yukon emergency officials have been bracing for the possibility of spring floods this year.

"Things are constantly evolving and we're responding to that and trying to stay on top of conditions," Goulding said.

This chart was shared as part of a media briefing by Yukon government officials on Thursday. Flooding would be dependent on ice jams in various rivers.
This chart was shared as part of a media briefing by Yukon government officials on Thursday. Flooding would be dependent on ice jams in various rivers. (Holly Goulding / Yukon government)

Yukon Energy lowers water level at Marsh Lake to prepare

The potential for flooding is due to higher-than-average snow pack this year.

In the Southern Lakes region, Yukon Energy has been working on a plan since last month. The utility has lowered the level of Marsh Lake by a metre.

Goulding says the utility has also applied for a change to its water licence which would allow it to lower the lake even further.

More melting and water doesn't necessarily mean flooding, as the most important factor is drainage and flow.

Goulding said water levels have already risen over a metre on the Yukon River at Dawson. However, flood risk in that area is considered low.

For the time being, Goulding said her department is keeping watch on conditions thanks to 73 hydro metric stations around the territory as well as satellite imagery and radar.

"Those are really critical for us watching water levels as they're changing during the breakup period," she said.