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Public Cautioned that Ice Jamming Likely on North Saskatchewan River

April 20, 2020 -- The Water Security Agency (WSA) is advising the public of the potential for localized flooding due to ice jamming along the North Saskatchewan River. The advisory is from the Alberta border down to the confluence with the South Saskatchewan River downstream of Prince Albert.

The lateness of snowmelt runoff is increasing the risk of a rapid warmup and melt, resulting in the potential for higher runoff than anticipated.  Some localized flooding and ice jamming on smaller streams and rivers could occur, with areas of highest risk is in the central part of the province from Highway 16 up to the Churchill River, where late winter snowfall was significant and minimal snowmelt has occurred to date.  

Residents along the North Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan Rivers are advised to be aware of this event and the potential impacts to property, like irrigation pumps and related equipment, along the river. The public should exercise extreme caution as ice jams can be highly dynamic resulting in rapid changes in water levels -- under no circumstances should anyone venture out onto an ice jam.

While spring ice jamming is not uncommon along the North Saskatchewan River, the lateness of this year’s snowmelt runoff within the basin increases the risk of a rapid melt and a simultaneous breakup of the ice cover.

A near simultaneous breakup, as opposed to a staggered event, may result in a more significant event. While the timing and magnitude of these events is difficult to predict, ice jams due tend to occur at the same locations year after year. Conditions are similar to ice jamming incidents experienced in 2013.

Significant increase in flows along the Saskatchewan River, resulting in increases in water levels at Codette and Tobin lakes and large increases in outflows at Nipawin and E.B. Campbell dams, are also expected.

For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-631-6997

Email: Patrick.Boyle@wsask.ca