Strong currents making potentially dangerous ice conditions on Winnipeg River, Lake of the Woods

 

Potentially dangerous river conditions exist along the Winnipeg River and English River due to high winter flows.

By: The Lake of the Woods Control Board


Due to high flows expected throughout the winter, swift currents may make areas along the English and Winnipeg rivers unsafe, including some areas that normally have reliable ice cover. There will also be areas of Lake of the Woods where much higher currents than normal may affect ice stability. The Board urges caution when on or near these waters over the winter.

The current level of Lake of the Woods is 323.03 m (1059.8 ft), a 90th percentile level for this time of year. The level of Lake of the Woods declined by 5 cm (2 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by 6-7 cm (3 in) over the next week.

A temporary flow reduction from Kenora Generating Station and Norman Generation Station is scheduled for Thursday, December 19. This outage is to support testing of new electrical line protection systems with Hydro One to meet regulatory and commercial requirements. The LWCB has directed the dam operator to pass additional flow through the sluices at Norman Dam to offset the reduced flow through the turbines. However, a temporary drop in river levels below the dams is still expected. Starting at 9 am, the level immediately below Norman Dam is expected to gradually decline by approximately 20-25 cm (8-10 in) through the morning. The level will start rising again by early afternoon. 

Lake of the Woods outflow is approximately 795 m³/s. Following the outage, outflow will be set at 750 m³/s. At the new flow rate, the Winnipeg River level immediately below Norman Dam will be approximately 13 cm (5 in) lower than today's level. 

A second outflow reduction is tentatively scheduled for December 30.

The current level of Lac Seul is 356.48 m (1169.5 ft), an 85th percentile level for this time of year. The average lake level declined by 3 cm (1 in) over the past week and is expected to decline by 3-4 cm (1-2 in) over the next week. Lac Seul authorized outflow is 450 m³/s, with no changes scheduled.