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Northern Saskatchewan Summer High Water Update – July 22, 2020


Northern Saskatchewan has received extremely high cumulative precipitation since April 1, 2020, resulting in very high flows and lake levels across the Churchill River Basin. In general, cumulative rainfall since April 1, 2020, is near record. As an example, cumulative annual precipitation data collected at Island Falls is shown below. At this site, annual precipitation is about 130 mm higher than the 30-year climate normal.

Flows and Lake Levels:

High river and lake levels can be expected for the remainder of summer and in some cases, such as the mainstem of the Churchill River, into the fall and winter. In most areas flows and water levels are expected to peak, or have peaked, slightly lower than previous historical highs. However, flows and levels in the Lower Churchill River, including Reindeer River and Churchill River near Sandy Bay, have exceed previous historical highs. 

Below are specific conditions at various locations as well as projected future peak levels:

Ile a la Crosse:

Present elevation: 420.98 m

Estimated peak: 421.1 m on or near July 28, 2020

Lac La Ronge:

La Ronge current elevation: 364.79 m

Projected peak: 364.83 m on or near August 10, 2020

Sandy Bay

Present Elevation:  9.87 m (2300 m3/s)

Forecasted peak:    10.14 m (2400 m3/s) on or near August 9

Cumberland House

Present Elevation:           267.76 as of 8:00 AM July 22, 2020

Forecasted peak:             267.79 m on July 23

Future Rainfall

Several areas of low pressure are expected to pass through northern Saskatchewan in the coming days. Light rain is expected through the region today ahead of a stronger system expected to move in late Thursday. This system is expected to bring general accumulations ranging from 5-10 mm with localized higher amounts due to embedded thunderstorms. Additional rain is likely on Friday and through the weekend that could bring general accumulations up to 20 mm or more.