EDMONTON – The recent wave of warm weather in northern Alberta has generated concerns over potential flooding. Because of the warm-up, the ice cover on the Peace River has collapsed several times in the past few days.
On Wednesday, Alberta Environment and Parks upgraded their ice jam advisory to an ice jam watch. They said the watch will remain in place until the ice cover stabilizes.
“When the ice starts to break apart, it collapses into the river,” said Jason Penner, a public information officer with Alberta Environment and Parks.
“It has a similar effect as dropping an ice cube into a glass of water, it raises the water level.”
The alert stated that “rapidly increasing water levels can occur upstream of the ice jam as water collects behind it.”
However, Penner said that “there’s not much of a risk of it over topping the dikes.” As of Friday, river levels were about three metres below the dike breach level.
“But there is a little bit of concern over groundwater because the river level itself is going up and that has implications on groundwater as well,” Penner continued.
“The current situation is that the river level in Peace River is dropping right now, but the watch will remain in effect for at least the next couple of days.”
Officials told Global News that the ice jam on the Peace River is located about nine kilometres upstream of the Highway 2 bridge and that water levels may continue to fluctuate as the ice cover stabilizes through the town of Peace River.
Area residents are being advised to be aware and cautious of rising water levels, and to stay off the ice.
© 2016 Shaw Media