FLOOD FORECASTING & WARNING

Image of road affected by flood water

Floods are the most common natural disaster in the world and are considered the most significant natural hazard in Ontario in terms of death, damage and civil disruption.

Ontario has a history of severe flood events including 1954 when Hurricane Hazel passed over the Toronto area causing a devastating flood. Over 80 lives were lost, hundreds of people were left homeless and municipal and private infrastructure was destroyed. Following the devastating impact of Hurricane Hazel, the flood forecasting and warning system was established in the province.

Flood management and response is a shared responsibility. Conservation Authorities in cooperation with local municipalities and the province play a significant role in the protection of life and property from flooding.

Long Point Region Conservation Authority is mandated by the Province to reduce the risk to life and damage to property from flood hazards. LPRCA is responsible for developing and maintaining a forecasting and warning system and coordinating with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and local municipalities in the delivery of this system. Floods are forecasted by LPRCA to the greatest extent possible and municipalities prepare and implement plans which allow quick response to emergency situations created by flooding. LPRCA provides input into municipal flood emergency planning and assists municipalities during emergency response situations.

LPRCA uses stream gauges, weather stations, snowpack measurements, weather forecasts and computer models to determine the potential for flooding. When necessary, LPRCA issues flood messages to the media, affected municipalities and agencies in order for the public and emergency personnel to respond to potential flooding and flood-related emergencies.

Flood conditions can be experienced at anytime of the year and be caused by a number of factors including rapid snow melt, ice jams, long-lasting rainfall over a broad area or locally intense rainfall events. High water levels on Lake Erie as a result of precipitation received in the Great Lakes basin and strong winds can also cause flooding along the shoreline.