Rainfall increases flood risk in Yukon, Canada’s Southern Lakes

hi-yukon-southern-lakes-flood-map-4colHeavy rain could mean rapid rise in water levels

Officials in Canada’s northwestern Yukon territory say the flood risk in the Southern Lakes district is high following a heavy rainfall warning issued by Environment Canada for the communities of Whitehorse, Tagish, Carcross and Marsh Lake.

Rainfall in the Whitehorse area is expected to be between 40 and 60 mm by Friday. If that amount of rain falls, water levels in the Southern Lakes are expected to rise quickly.

On Wednesday, the water level was 24 cm below flood stage.

Due to a possible flood situation, the Yukon government closed the day use area at Army Beach Wednesday evening. The public boat launch at Army Beach is also closed indefinitely.

The Yukon government plans to raise Pearson Road to minimize the effects of rising water levels, and super sandbags will be placed along Army Beach to prevent damage from rising water.

Yukon officials urge people in the Southern Lakes district to take measures to flood proof their homes, move belongings from crawlspaces and basements, move hazardous materials and fuel to safe locations and learn how to shut off their home’s electricity and fuel lines.

In 2007, record floods in the area peaked at about one metre above flood stage. At least 54 properties were damaged, mostly in the Marsh Lake area.

Peak water level in the region normally occurs in August. The peak water level this year is expected to be similar to the level reached in 2004, which resulted in localized flooding.

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