GRCA urges caution around local water bodies

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Officials don’t expect widespread flooding, but the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) is urging area residents to “exercise extreme caution around all local waterways” due to Thursday’s rainfall.

“The current weather system crossing the province is bringing above normal temperatures and approximately 20 to 30mm of rainfall to the area,” states a Feb. 9 press release from the GRCA.

“No significant flooding is expected with this event; however, river flows in local waterways will be higher than normal for this time of year, increasing the risk in low-lying areas typically prone to flooding.”

Officials say recent cold temperatures “did allow for some ice formation on local waterbodies,” but rainfall on Feb. 9 has “significantly weakened any ice that remains and the public should stay off the ice.”

The GRCA has closed ice fishing at all its parks and its reservoirs are being used to reduce downstream flooding.

“However, river flows will remain elevated, increasing the safety risk around rivers and streams throughout the watershed,” states the press release.

“The public is encouraged to exercise extreme caution around all local waterways.

“Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery and, when combined with cold, fast-moving water, pose a serious hazard.

“Parents are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from all watercourses.”

This warning will remain in effect until at least noon on Feb. 13.