Significant rain and snowfall this year have led to bodies of water in the Northwest Territories having above-average water levels and flow rates, according to a news release issued by the GNWT, Thursday.
The GNWT Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR) says much of this is due to precipitation levels during the summer of 2020.
These high water levels have continued during the fall and will likely remain throughout the winter, states the release.
Great Slave Lake at Yellowknife Bay typically stands at 156.5 metres at this time of the year. As of Nov. 18, water levels are approximately 50 centimetres higher than average, at 157 metres,” states the release.
The GNWT has also recorded several rivers with higher-than-average water flow.
The Taltson River, below the hydro dam, south of Great Slave Lake, typically sees 215 cubic metres per second. As of Nov. 12, the water flow was recorded as 628 cubic metres per second.
The Tazin River (near the mouth), located southeast of Great Slave Lake, normally registers an average of water flow of 60 cubic metres per second, however, the water flow as of Oct. 15 was recorded at 372 cubic metres per second.
The Lockhart River at the outlet of Artillery Lake on the |East Arm, historically has a flow of around 132 cubic metres per second. According to measurements by the GNWT, as of Nov. 18 it tracked at 249 cubic metres per second.
The Kakisa River, at the outlet of Kakisa Lake, usually has a flow rate of 35 cubic metres per second. ENR states that the measure came in at close to 125 cubic metres per second recently.
Implications for high water
The department states that when high water conditions exist, it can lead to freeze-up later than usual and it may cause thin ice in places where it’s normally thicker and stable.
“This may result in changes in water overflow on land and ice,” states the release. “With different freeze-up and ice conditions expected this fall and winter, caution is advised when travelling on the land.”
ENR several tips for travellers when out on the land, including telling family and friends where you are going and when you plan to be back; travelling in a group and making sure someone at home knows who is with you; preparing for changing weather conditions, including by bringing an emergency survival kit; checking in regularly with home, if possible, and check the weather and ice conditions in the area.
Environment and Climate Change Canada provides real-time data for rivers, streams and lakes in the NWT on its website.