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Quinte Conservation warns of unsafe ice conditions

Torrential rain that fell last weekend caused flows in local water ways to rise above normal levels for this time of year but Quinte Conservation’s concern isn’t so much about flooding, as it is changing ice conditions.

“Our area received between 30 and 40 millimetres of rain over the weekend,” said Christine McClure, Quinte Conservation Water Resources Manager. “The rain and melting snow have caused the flows and levels to increase in water systems across our region.”

McClure noted the authority is not concerned about flooding as the cold weather in the long term forecast means levels will gradually return to normal in the coming days and weeks.

However, Quinte Conservation is reminding residents to be extremely cautious about changing ice conditions.

“The changing flows can create unsafe ice conditions. Parents and guardians are urged to keep children off the ice as it will likely become unstable. Stream banks will be slippery and treacherous. Dams and other water control structures should be avoided at all times due to strong currents. Hypothermia is real concern for anyone who falls into the water, even in a ditch or small creek.”

Lack of ice cover and exposure of the water surface to cold temperatures or wind chills below -18 degrees Celsius can trigger the formation of frazil ice which can accumulate quickly on bridge abutments, piers and riverbanks. Frazil ice is slush ice that is formed in turbulent, open water on rivers during extreme cold.

Quinte Conservation is issuing a Water Safety Statement regarding the changing conditions in the watershed. A Water Safety Statement indicates that high flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors could be dangerous for users such as anglers, boaters, swimmers, children or pets. Flooding is not expected.

This message is valid until January 20, 2016.

Quinte Conservation is a community-based environmental protection agency. It serves 18 municipalities in the watersheds of the Moira, Napanee and Salmon Rivers and Prince Edward County.

More information about Quinte Conservation is available at

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