'Watching the water creep up': Ross River Dena chief says community on flood watch

·1 min read
The Pelly River at Ross River. The water level of the Pelly River at Ross River rose more than a metre on Tuesday after the ice broke and jammed. The Yukon government issued a flood watch and says the water level is stable. (Submitted by Fran Etzel - image credit)
The Pelly River at Ross River. The water level of the Pelly River at Ross River rose more than a metre on Tuesday after the ice broke and jammed. The Yukon government issued a flood watch and says the water level is stable. (Submitted by Fran Etzel - image credit)

A flood watch was issued for the community of Ross River after the ice broke yesterday afternoon in the Pelly River and formed a jam downstream of the town.

"That ice jam raised water levels by over a metre in about two hours yesterday evening," said Holly Goulding, a senior hydrologist with the Yukon government.

On Wednesday morning, she said the ice jam remains in place, about 1.2 metres below the flood threshold, in stable water conditions.

'We're getting concerned'

But by noon on Wednesday, Dylan Loblaw, chief of the Ross River Dena Council said the water was rising.

"We're just watching the water creep up to the road and we're getting concerned," he said.

Submitted by Fran Etzel
Submitted by Fran Etzel

He said there is a berm in the community of about 350 to help prevent flooding but residents who live near the river, about 500 metres away, are concerned.

"If we could beef up that dike a bit, that would be helpful," he said.

Loblaw said the community is in discussions with the Yukon government and Emergency Management Operations but so far, he said the government hasn't committed any resources to the community.

He said usually the river ice breaks up quickly and there's nothing to worry about.

"This year with the high snow pack, we've received a flood warning and a flood watch," he said.

"At the moment, this will leave us in a vulnerable place, without the preparations being in place."

Goulding said Wednesday morning the government will continue to monitor the ice jam and water level closely and that it will remain in contact with local emergency response agencies.

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