River breakup imminent in Hay River, say local officials

·2 min read
Breakup at Alexandra Falls this week. Officials in Hay River now say that breakup is imminent. (Anna Desmarais/CBC  - image credit)
Breakup at Alexandra Falls this week. Officials in Hay River now say that breakup is imminent. (Anna Desmarais/CBC - image credit)

Officials in Hay River, Northwest Territories, say river breakup is now imminent, and want to make sure people in the area are prepared for a flood.

"As breakup is now imminent locally, if you live on Vale Island or West Channel, please prepare for the possibility of an evacuation with relatively short notice," said the Wednesday update from the Town.

It says water levels have been rising steadily on the Hay River at all monitoring stations and it appears the monitor at Meander has failed due to the significant drop.

Water appears to be from bank to bank, which indicates that ice is starting to move closer to town, according to what the monitoring station at Delancey Estates is showing.

"Pine Point Bridge Monitoring station shows flow on the upstream side with ice jammed on the downstream side of the bridge. There is some cracking of the ice and break up it starting to happen on the downstream side of the bridge," the release says.

At Steen River, levels are "very high" but it the rise may have levelled off. There is water flowing at the Border Station, where breakup has occurred, and levels continue to rise slowly at that station.

There is water flowing over the falls now as well, and the town expects to see broken ice "floating by the camera" as breakup continues upstream. The monitoring station is down at the moment, the release says, but the town is still "keeping a close eye on levels at that area."

The levels at Paradise Valley are still constant but the town expects to see the breaking of the ice in that location on Wednesday.

There is a water flow above and below the ice on the West Channel, with water getting to the lake right now, and some water on the ice down the East Channel.

Temperatures are expected to rise over the next few days, which means snow and ice will continue to melt in large amounts. Officials expect to see levels on the southern N.W.T. watershed growing more rapidly.

The town's emergency measures coordinator and water resources officials are continuing to monitor the situation, and will update people when conditions change. Updates from the town can be found here.