Nechako River Continues to Jam Up
Prince George, B.C.- With the continued cold temperatures, the ice continues to build up on the Nechako River.
City Manager of Public Works, Dave Dyer says the ice build up at the confluence this morning is three to 4 feet higher than it was yesterday. “Yesterday the channel, you could see, was flowing right by the canoe launch, Now that’s all ice so there is a significant amount of ice built up.”
He says there is a considerable amount of water moving through the channel near the Cameron Street Replica Bridge, and although there is a sheet of ice over that flow, the water continues to move under the ice.
The flow at the gauge at Isle Pierre is just under 200 cubic metres per second, “It’s kind of at the threshold where we get a potential of threat for flooding. Anything over 200 cubic metres and cold weather starts to generate a significant amount of frazzle ice and with that much flow, it can be a threat.” Normally, at this time of year, the flow rate is about 100 cubic metres per second.
“At 200 (cm/s) there is a potential threat for flooding, but again, it depends on how long the ice has a chance to build up” says Dyer. The long the cold temps stay , the frazzle ice continues to build and to compress against the ice at the confluence.
City crews are monitoring the situation and Dyer says at this point, there is no threat to properties along the banks of the Nechako, such as the residences and the Northern Lights Estate Winery. “There is still a fair bit of free board from the top of the water to the bank, so that’s what we’re watching.” Dyer believes the current high flows are a result of “unprecedented rainfall in October and November.”
Rio-Tinto Alcan’s release at the Skinslake Spillway has been typical for this time of year, with discharge averaging around 31 cubic metres per second since September.
At this time, trails in Cottonwood Island park are still passable, but Dyer says should the water spill over into the park the City will take the necessary measures which would mean closure.