NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – May 10, 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 

  • Satellite imagery from yesterday (09 May) at 13:00 indicates that break up has progressed down the Mackenzie River to Camsell Bend;
    • There are visible open water leads where tributaries drain into the Mackenzie River between Camsell Bend and Tulita;
  • The water level on the Mackenzie River in the Sahtu region is climbing underneath the ice;
  • Temperatures in the Sahtu are forecast to be warmer than normal and mostly sunny in the Sahtu through this weekend;
    • Night-time temperatures are forecast to remain above freezing;
    • This will likely rapidly melt remaining snow in the region and deliver runoff to streams and rivers;
  • Water levels on the Peel and Arctic Red rivers have slowly started to rise under ice;
  • Early indicators show that there is an increased potential for flooding in the Peel and Arctic Red river basins;
    • This increased potential stems from highest on record over-winter water levels, high precipitation last summer/fall, high snowpack, and a colder-than-normal spring;
    • The maximum extent of spring break up water levels will be dependent on weather conditions over the coming weeks;
    • More information for land users in the basins is available here.

Current Status – Mackenzie River

  • The water level on the Mackenzie River in the Sahtu region is rising slowly underneath the ice as snowmelt and break up progress northward;
  • Some ice began to shift near Tulita last night (09 May);
  • Ice remains intact at Norman Wells and Fort Good Hope.

Current Status –Peel River and Beaufort Delta

  • Water levels are slowly rising under the ice on the Peel and Arctic Red rivers as snowmelt begins;
  • Fort McPherson and the Peel River basin are forecast to be warmer than normal for the next two days, followed by cooler temperatures and cloudy conditions for two days;
  • Early indicators show the potential for high water and out-of-bank flows on the Peel River and Arctic Red rivers at break up;
  • More information will be available as spring progresses and the snowpack melts.