The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) has issued a flood watch for areas around southeast Hamilton, Niagara and the eastern portion of Haldimand County in response to a forecast calling for increasing temperatures and rainfall.
The watch says temperature changes combined with excessive snowfall seen in recent days are increasing the potential for riverbank flooding.
“The extent of flooding will depend upon the amount of rainfall that is received,” the NCPA’s Ryan Kitchen said in a statement.
“During this time, localized flooding is anticipated due to many roadside ditches being filled with debris, ice and snow.”
Environment Canada anticipates temperatures will increase to 10 C over the next two days, with periods of rain between Hamilton, Niagara Falls and Fort Erie expected right through until Sunday afternoon.
At issue is existing snow, five to 10 centimetres accumulated across the central, north and west portions of the watershed and 15 to 30 centimetres along the southern watershed from Haldimand County to Fort Erie.
Kitchen says recent checks indicate only the potential for flooding in low-lying areas, with no significant overflow in residential areas.
“Drifting snow may hide deep pressure cracks and crevasses,” Kitchen said.
“Residents are strongly warned not to walk out onto the Lake Erie pack-ice. Motorists are also reminded not to travel through flooded roadways as they can pose hidden dangers.”
In a social media post, the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) concurred with the NCPA’s advice, saying the community should avoid the recent spectacle of homes covered in ice and snow from last weekend’s blizzard.
“The problem is people are traveling to see them on roads that still have deep snow and closures,” the NRPS said in a Twitter post.
“We have cars getting stuck & people walking on unsafe lake ice.”
The Grand River Conservation authority, which manages waterways around 39 municipalities in Ontario, are also urging caution as well across the Grand River watershed but expects “no significant flooding.”