Flood warning in effect for Grand River watershed; be prepared and stay safe

Posted on Monday February 19, 2018

UPDATE - Saturday, February 24 - 12 p.m./noon

Blackbridge Road bridge has re-opened to traffic. 

UPDATE - Friday, February 23 - 4 p.m.

Water St. (Hwy 24) is now open to traffic in both directions. 

UPDATE - Thursday, February 22 - 7 a.m.

Regional crews worked throughout the night to remove the huge ice chunks and Water St (hwy 24) is now open in the North bound direction only.

The South bound portion remains closed as the guard rail & shoulder are damaged.

UPDATE - Wednesday, February 21 - 4:30 p.m.

The City has re-closed Blackbridge Road due to rising water levels. Please use an alternate route.

UPDATE - Wednesday, February 21 - 11:50 a.m.

With the flooding beginning to recede, Blackbridge Road, Blair Road and the Concession Street bridge have re-opened to traffic.

At this time, Riverside Park and Hwy 24 between Myers Road and Ainslie Street remain closed.

UPDATE - Wednesday, February 21 - 10:25 a.m.

River flows have begun to recede through Galt and will continue to come down throughout the day. The GRCA has advised that the ice is moving out and that there is low risk of a further jam occurring.

High water levels are expected to remain throughout the week and river flows remain fast enough to be dangerous. Residents are asked to continue to use extreme caution and stay back from the water’s edge.

UPDATE - Wednesday, February 21 - 5:00 a.m.

The ice jam upstream of Parkhill Dam started releasing around 2 am this morning. When this ice jam released it sent a surge of water downstream.  The Concession Street Bridge has been closed and temporary stops logs (flood wall) are being installed as a precaution until ice clears out of the upstream river and the threat of further ice jams has passed. HWY 24, from Myers Road to Ainslie Street, has also been closed (view detour). GRCA has advised that they expect water levels will start receding this afternoon.  

Further, the ice caused a water main break on Concession Street Bridge causing water supply issues primarily in the Galt area (and parts of Preston). Crews are on the scene and hoping to start restoring water within an hour; however, some areas could take up to four to five hours. View a map of the affected area.  

If water is discoloured, residents should:

  • Run a cold hard water tap nearest to where service comes in to the house (for example near a laundry tap)
  • Run a stream of water the width of a pencil for approx. 15 minutes
  • If the water doesn’t clear, shut the tap off and wait 2 hours to try the steps above
  • Water is safe, however due to the discolouration and taste, it is not recommended to drink
  • Can be used for bathing, and other household needs (flushing toilets, etc.)

We are reminding the public to exercise extreme caution around all water bodies. Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks are very slippery at this time and, when combined with current weather conditions, pose a serious hazard. Parents are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from the riverbanks. 

UPDATE - Tuesday, February 20, 3:30 p.m.

Blair Road lane closure - Due to flooding, the Cambridge-bound lane of Blair Road has been closed to traffic between George St and Langdon Hall. Currently the lane heading into Blair remains open.

Riverside Park closure - Riverside Park has been closed to the public due to flooding. Residents are reminded to use caution around waterbodies and to keep back from the water's edge. 

UPDATE - Tuesday, February 20 - 2:30 p.m.

Due to flooding, Blackbridge Road has been closed at the bridge until further notice. For a detailed detour route, visit our road closure notice.

UPDATE – Tuesday, February 20 – 11 a.m.

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) has advised that the rain forecast has been downgraded to 50 mm (from 70 mm yesterday) over the next three days.  This amount of rain and snowmelt would normally result in runoff and flooding typical in the spring period. However, the ice jam remains a significant concern and it is unknown how it may impact additional flooding in the Cambridge area.

Ice jams are unpredictable and can cause water to flow in unexpected patterns and directions. Flooding as a result of these jams can occur without warning.

The ice jam is being held by an ice sheet from the Parkhill Dam to the rail bridge, and continues upstream near the rare charitable research reserve property. It is made up of large chunks of 1-2 feet of thick “blue ice” (the strongest ice) and is combined with layers of thinner ice, trees, branches and other debris.  GRCA advises it is the most significant ice jam in this section of the river in more than 40 years.

As a result, we remain in a state of readiness should the situation suddenly change. Cambridge Fire and City public works officials are patrolling at-risk areas and closely monitoring river conditions. We also continue to advise residents in at-risk areas to be prepared (move valuables to higher levels) and the general public to stay away from riverbanks which are extremely unstable and dangerous.

GRCA is expected to provide another official update this afternoon. They are also providing a presentation to Council tonight which will be streamed live www.cambridge.ca/councillive.

We are also posting information and updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cityofcambridge.

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UPDATE - Monday, February 19, 2018 – 9 AM

The Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) has issued a Flood Warning for the entire Grand River watershed as rain and warm temperatures are expected to move into the Waterloo Region this week.

A warm front accompanied by heavy rainfall is forecast today through Wednesday. This combination is anticipated to trigger significant snow melt and runoff into the river system which will result in high flows in rivers and streams across the watershed.

A major ice jam north of Park Hill Dam in Cambridge could potentially cause additional flooding, particularly along the floodplain in the Blair area, adjacent to the Grand River; and the Speed River area downstream of the King Street Bridge in Preston. The GRCA advises that these areas may experience flooding beginning this evening.

As a proactive measure, City of Cambridge fire officials went door-to-door this weekend in the areas of concern to advise residents of the situation and to hand out information about flood preparedness and safety. Please see more information here: www.cambridge.ca/emergencypreparedness.  

The City is working closely with the GRCA and emergency management officials to monitor river levels. Crews are prepared to close Blair Road and Blackbridge Road if necessary to protect public safety. Emergency detour routes have been determined.

We continue to remind the public to exercise extreme caution around the river. Banks near rivers and creeks are very slippery at this time and, when combined with current weather conditions, pose a serious hazard. Parents are encouraged to keep their children and pets away from the river and ice which is extremely unsafe.  

We will provide further updates as conditions develop and new weather forecast information becomes available.

Residents can stay informed the following ways:

To stay up-to-date on flood watches and warnings:

  • Subscribe to the Grand River Conservation Authority’s flood warning system at www.grandriver.ca and
  • Follow the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA) on Twitter at @grca_flood_msg

For local flood response, including road closures, detours and more