By Katherine George
Environment Canada predicts temperatures will rise this week reaching a high of 9 degrees on Tuesday.
After the coldest February on record, the warmer weather is greatly appreciated, however, conservationists warn the first couple weeks of March are the most dangerous time for potential flooding.
Laurian Farrell, senior manager of the Flood Management Service at the Toronto & Region Conservation Authority said conservational authorities will begin to issue their spring melt messages.
“This is a reminder to municipalities and the public about new weather conditions where snow could melt and there might be flooding,” she said.
The city of Toronto urges homeowners to take the necessary precautions to protect against impending weather risks.
— City of Toronto (@TorontoComms) March 7, 2015
To determine flooding risks the conservational authorities monitor snow levels to understand how much water shed is available.
The leading factors contributing to flooding are melting snow, level of rain in the forecast and the rate at which temperatures fluctuate, said Farrell.
“The one silver lining we have with the upcoming forecast is that overnight temperatures are expected to go below freezing, so the melting will stop, things will freeze up and then resume again when the sun comes out,” – Geoff Coulson, Environment Canada
Geoff Coulson, meteorologist at Environment Canada said March will be sunny and warm, but cold nights mean temperatures will fluctuate slowly, lowering the risk of flooding.
“The one silver lining we have with the upcoming forecast is that overnight temperatures are expected to go below freezing, so the melting will stop, things will freeze up and then resume again when the sun comes out,” said Coulson.
Despite the slow melting, the next two weeks will provide warmer than usual temperatures.
Normal highs for March in Toronto are about four degrees and this year we are looking at daytime highs between seven and nine degrees.
“There still could be some chilly days here and there, but it does look like we have broken the back of the really cold weather we suffered through during the month of February,” he said.
Unfortunately, the end of March will drop back down to being colder than normal, but these temperatures are no where near what the city has dealt with lately, said Coulson.
Farrell said even though there is no immediate risk for flooding in Toronto, the weather can change quickly.
“We have someone on call 24/7 throughout the year, but during this time of year they watch very closely,” she said. “They are looking for changing conditions.”
The most important precaution to take is to stay away from river banks, Farrell said.
After the winter months the banks are soft, slippery and not stable.
The second thing is to clear snow away from the foundation of homes to avoid residential flooding.
“In the meantime, we will continue to monitor the snow pack and potential for rain to keep an eye out for changing conditions,” said Farrell.