FLOOD WATCH  Lake Nipissing Shoreline in North Bay and Callander and Parks Creek subwatershed

Message Number:    2024-13

Issued:                   May 16, 2024, at 3:00 PM EDT

From:                     NBMCA Duty Officer, Angela Mills

FLOOD WATCH notifies that the potential for flooding exists within specific watercourses and municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.

If you have a flood emergency, please contact your municipality. If you live in an unincorporated township, please contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) – North Bay District.

A FLOOD WARNING has ended for the Lake Nipissing shoreline in the City of North Bay and Municipality of Callander and Parks Creek subwatershed.

A FLOOD WATCH has been issued for the Lake Nipissing shoreline in the City of North Bay and Municipality of Callander and Parks Creek subwatershed.

This is an update to the previous Message Number 2024-12 dated May 10, 2024.

Current Conditions:

Daily average water level of Lake Nipissing in North Bay has decreased by about 9 cm since its peak on April 23. The water level on Lake Nipissing has been receding but remains above summer normal water level. The water level on Lake Nipissing is regulated by dams operated by the federal government.

Water levels in the remainder of the watershed are near normal for this time of year. Water levels on Trout Lake, Turtle Lake, and Lake Talon are regulated by dams that are operated by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

Current water levels can be viewed by searching Station Names “Ottawa River”, “Mattawa River”, “Chippewa Creek”, “La Vase River”, “Wasi River”, and “Lake Nipissing” at https://wateroffice.ec.gc.ca/search/real_time_e.html

Forecasted Conditions:

There is a chance of thunderstorms between Friday (May 17) and Sunday. Forecasts indicate 15-25 mm of rain is possible.

The water level of Lake Nipissing is expected to continue to decrease with reduced inflows, per Public Services and Procurement Canada. For water level and flow information, see https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/ontario/eaux-water/renseignement-information-eng.html. The changes to water levels on Lake Nipissing depend on the amount of water flowing in from rivers, precipitation, and the amount of water flowing out through the control dams to the downstream French River.

Landscape conditions with dormant vegetation and saturated soils have limited capacity to store additional moisture. Local rivers may respond rapidly to additional precipitation.

Historic Flood Conditions:

When lake-based flooding occurred on Lake Nipissing in May 2019, the water level on Lake Nipissing at North Bay reached a maximum level that is about 32 cm higher than the peak water level on April 23, 2024.

Risk:

A Flood Watch is in effect for the Lake Nipissing Shoreline in the City of North Bay and Municipality of Callander and the Parks Creek subwatershed. Water levels are dropping but remain above normal for this time of year. Local water levels could fluctuate rapidly in response to strong west or southwest winds.

As water levels recede on Lake Nipissing, there is continued influence to water levels in the downstream reaches of Lake Nipissing tributaries (such as Chippewa Creek, Parks Creek, Jessup’s Creek, and La Vase River). The changes to water levels on Lake Nipissing depend on the amount of water flowing in from rivers, precipitation, wind, and the amount of water flowing out through the control dams to the downstream French River.

All residents, especially those in low lying areas, are encouraged to monitor the conditions that are developing. Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery at this time and when combined with fast moving and cold open water, pose a serious hazard. The public is encouraged to keep children and pets away from watercourses and waterbodies.  

Municipalities are encouraged to monitor water crossings for debris that may affect the movement of water through culverts and bridges. A close watch on local conditions and updated forecasts and warnings from Environment Canada is also recommended.

Staff at the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority will continue to monitor weather and watershed conditions and update this message based on the changing weather and streamflow conditions.

This message will be in effect until (or updated before) Friday, May 24, at 4:00 PM EDT.

The general public is advised of these messages through the www.nbmca.ca website with the flood status icon and a link to information about current conditions. NBMCA also circulates these messages to local media and social media, posting on Twitter (@theNBMCA), Instagram (nbmcainfo), and Facebook (NBMCA).

The public is invited to share photos of watershed conditions on social media using #NBMCAFlood.

Media Release issued May 16, 2024

https://www.nbmca.ca/watershed-management/flood-forecasting/flood-watch-status-terminology/

North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority Subwatershed map
NBMCA Subwatershed Map

 

Lake Nipissing

Flows through the dams are based on daily analysis of the current status of the lake and river and as agreed to by the Sturgeon-Nipissing-French-Wanapitei Water Management Group. Weather forecast is considered, along with the inflows from the upper watersheds and outflows through the dam to the French River.

You can view the current level on Lake Nipissing at North Bay on the graph below and the French River at the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) website.  Fluctuations in the levels are a result of the strong winds affecting the movement of surface water. Water level and flow information for the South River and Sturgeon River systems is available from Ontario Power Generation (OPG)

Flood warnings for Ontario can be found on the Ontario Flood Forecasting and Warning website.

Why the fluctuation in water level readings on Lake Nipissing?  Lake Nipissing can sometimes act like a bathtub, with water shifting in the lake, depending upon wind direction, speed and atmospheric pressure - known as a wind surge or seiche.  At times the wind can have such an impact that it may result in the level being higher or lower at the French River gauge compared to the gauge located on the North Bay shoreline.

Mattawa River

The current Ottawa River water level may be viewed at the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) website (note that there is a delay of several hours, and 100m should be added to the gauge reading for metres above sea level).

The Ottawa River Regulation Committee and Ontario Power Generation which operates the Otto Holden Dam provide information online regarding the management of water levels on the Ottawa River.  To view water levels and current conditions on the Ottawa River visit the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board and Ontario Power Generation.

Watercourses  and Monitoring throughout the Watershed

There are other watercourses within the NBMCA jurisdiction which are monitored by NBMCA and other agencies.  These gauges are maintained by Water Survey Canada - Environment Canada and can be viewed in real-time online.

In addition to the Water Survey of Canada gauges, there are other staff gauges which are monitored by NBMCA or the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry:

  • Chippewa Creek
  • Lake Nosbonsing Dam
  • Mattawa River at Hurdman Dam
  • Parks Creek
  • Trout Lake
  • Turtle Lake
  • Talon Lake

Is your property at risk of flooding?

If you think that your property may be at risk of flooding, please contact your municipality.  

If you live in an unorganized township, contact Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry District office at 705-475-5501.