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Flood forecast range normal to above normal

Flood forecasting staff at Quinte Conservation predict spring run off this year will be normal to above normal.

“Staff are working hard to analyze current conditions and historical trends,” said Bryon Keene, water resources manager. “We want to inform the public that there is very little chance for a below normal spring runoff this year.”

Short term weather forecasts show the Quinte area will have warmer temperatures and more snow and rain.  Keene says the snow that is now on the ground can absorb 3 centimeters of rain without causing any runoff.

“If there is more there could be some localized ponding of water or drainage issues on city streets and in and around storm drains over the next few days.  There will be very little runoff on large river systems.

Keene says predicting runoff farther into the future is more difficult. The spring runoff depends on three factors; water content in the snow, temperatures, and rain.

“Right now we know that if you melt down all the snow we have it would be the same as 13 centimeters or about 5 inches of rain. To compare, before the big flood event in 2008 we had 25 centimeters or 10 inches of water stored in the snow by the end of the winter.  We have the same amount of water content in the snow now as we did this time in 2008.  What we don’t know yet is how quickly we will reach spring temperatures this year and how much rain and snow we will have over the next six weeks.”

Average winters produce 8 centimeters of precipitation each month.

“Spring flooding in Quinte usually happens in April.  We have a lot more winter to go. If we receive an average amount of precipitation the water content of the snow could increase to 25 centimeters or the same as about 10 inches of rain in the next 6 weeks,” Keene said. “To avoid a flood this year we would need to receive less than the normal amount of rain and snow over the next few weeks.  The conditions we see right now are troubling in terms of this year’s spring runoff.

The timing of the spring thaw will be critical to whether or not a flood will occur. Conditions are concerning right now and we expect an above normal spring runoff. This year’s runoff depends on what type of weather we get over the next month and a half.  As we get nearer to the spring thaw we will be better able to forecast runoff conditions.  When we receive more certain forecasts we will send out more information.”

Filed Under: Local News

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