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Fontas River levels and flows continue to fall, but only slightly per day

Warmer temperatures likely to help melt snow pack
The forecast for the May long weekend is for mostly sunshine. Warmer temperatures and a high snow pack could mean a slower drop in levels and flows on the Fontas River.

With forecast temperatures in the upper teens this long weekend and a significant snow pack still in the mountains, the River Forecast Centre is keeping a Flood Watch up until at least next week for the Fontas River, southeast of Fort Nelson.

"The flows are still fairly high. They're at, what's known as a 10-year flow period, said forecaster Jonathan Boyd Friday afternoon. "With the Fontas being such a large watershed, at lower elevation, it takes a while to drop. So, you don't see quite the flashy response that you might in the some of the smaller creeks or rivers."

On Wednesday of this week, the river crested at 560 cubic metres per second before beginning to come down.

It was at 540 m3/s Thursday and by Friday morning, it fell further to 524 m3/s.

"It basically started to rise at about the same time as Pouce Coupe River did in the first week of May, so, essentially two weeks ago. The flood watch is more of a precaution with the continued high water flows," said Boyd.

"Models have it continuing to recede. I expect the flood watch to get lowered to a High Streamflow Advisory early next week, assuming the area doesn't receive a large amount of rain."

Although remote with only some oil & gas activity, it is well known with back country users.

Boyd is warning even as the river levels and flows ease, being too close to the river is still very dangerous.

"When we have long weekends, that's people get in the great outdoors. The main thing is stay away from high flowing rivers or creeks, staying away from the banks when they are at the levels we're seeing. The Fontas is an example of that right now."

Boyd also points out there can be erosion that might not be seen.

"Under the banks, for example, where someone could actually fall into the river. Not just this river, but in the spring, that's when water levels generally start to rise from snow melt. Water temperatures can also be quite cold if someone were to fall in."

However, for those wanting to get outside, the forecast is promising for this weekend.


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A few clouds. Wind north 20 km/h gusting to 40 becoming light this evening. Low zero with risk of frost.

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