NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – April 26, 2023

News Type: 
Water monitoring bulletin

The Government of the Northwest Territories maintains water monitoring stations across the territory to keep track of water levels and flow rates in areas of potential flood risk for communities.

This information is provided regularly to territorial and regional emergency managers to help understand the status of waterways across the NWT in the lead-up to, and during spring break-up – the highest-risk period for floods in the Northwest Territories.

Technical data

Current status – NWT

  • Snowmelt, river ice melt, and rises in water levels continue in southern basins in the NWT;
  • On the Hay River, ice has begun to break and consolidate locally;
  • The initiation of spring break up and water level rise in the Hay River is earlier than normal due to warm spring temperatures.
  • On the Liard River and on the Mackenzie River at Fort Simpson, water levels are beginning to rise under the ice, but the rates of increase are still very small.
  • Warmer than seasonal temperatures are forecast for the Hay River and lower Liard River basins this weekend, beginning Friday
    •  Temperatures will approach 20°C in the southern parts of the basins and will rapidly melt residual snowpack

Current Status - Hay River

  • Snow across the entire Hay River basin continues to melt;
  • Water levels are rising on the Hay River and its tributaries
    • Rates of rise are normal for this stage of breakup;
  • The onset of water level rise occurred earlier than normal and much earlier than last year;
  • Ice is degrading on the Hay River, with small amounts of local ice movement and consolidation
    • Small patches of open water are developing
  • An upper ridge will bring warmer than normal temperatures to the Hay River basin beginning on Friday and last through the weekend.
    • Highs of near 20°C are forecast for the upper (southern) part of the basin
    • Warm temperatures expedite the melting of snow and ice in the basin
  • Refer to the Town of Hay River website for the most up-to-date information, as well as webcam images of current conditions.

Current Status – Liard River

  • Snowpack continues to melt across the basin;
  • Ice remains intact along the Liard River within the NWT;
  • Water levels are slowly increasing underneath the ice on the Liard River at Fort Liard
    • The small rates of water level rise is normal for this time of year
  • The southern Dehcho region is forecast to receive warmer than normal temperatures beginning on Friday and lasting through the weekend.
    • Fort Liard and Nahanni Butte are forecast to receive small amounts of rain (10-20 mm) Sunday night and Monday morning

Current Status – Slave River/Great Slave Lake/Mackenzie River

  • Break up is well underway in the Peace/Athabasca basins, which drain into the Slave River;
    • Break up has been mostly thermal on the Peace and Athabasca rivers;
  • Break up has not yet commenced on the Mackenzie River;
  • Water levels are slowly beginning to rise underneath the ice at the Mackenzie River at Fort Simpson, but the rate of increase is still very small.
  • The southern Dehcho region is forecast to receive warmer than normal temperatures beginning on Friday and lasting through the weekend.