Nith River flows so far not impacted by melt

Fear of flooding in New Hamburg this week may be overblown.

We had about 3mm of rain overnight and we’ve already hit today’s high of around 8C. More rain is expected overnight but likely not enough to make a significant impact on river flows. Below-freezing temperatures are set to return Saturday.

River flow data so far today shows the Nith River at New Hamburg is below 2 cubic metres per second.

To understand just how high the river has to rise before flooding impacts homes and businesses in New Hamburg’s flood plain, check out the Grand River Conservation Authority graphic below.

Manager of communications for the GRCA, Dave Schultz, says we likely won’t notice any significant melting today, but as temperatures remain mild overnight they expect to see river flows increase.

Schultz says the tipping point for the melt to occur, determined by the number of hours temperatures remain above freezing, will hit sometime overnight. Ice will begin to break up and move downstream, leading to the potential for ice jams when the river begins to freeze again on Saturday. Schultz says the Nith River, and in particular around New Hamburg, is prone to ice jams.

Colder temperatures on the weekend don’t mean the risk of flooding is over. Flows will continue to remain high as snow melt from the northern part of the watershed moves downstream next week.

Homeowners in New Hamburg’s flood plain are urged to take the regular precautions as spring approaches by getting valuables off of basement floors and preparing for rising water.

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