NWT Water Monitoring Bulletin – May 8, 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 acquired Saturday (06 May) at 13:00 indicates that ice on the Mackenzie River has cleared to approximately the Wrigley crossing;
    • The snowpack in the Mackenzie Valley has largely melted up to Tulita where snow cover is intermittent;
  • Temperatures in the Sahtu are forecast to be above normal beginning tomorrow and lasting through the weekend;
  • 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

  • Ice on the Mackenzie River has cleared past Fort Simpson;
  • Satellite imagery acquired at 13:00 Saturday (06 May) indicates that ice is solid from approximately the Wrigley crossing and downstream;
    • There is a small open water section at Camsell Bend where the North Nahanni River drains into the Mackenzie River.

Current Status –Peel River and Beaufort Delta

  • Break up has yet to commence in the Peel River and Beaufort Delta;
  • 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 the snowpack melts.