Ice breakup in the NWT’s rivers is delayed this year by colder than normal spring temperatures, although that may change with a spell of warm weather next week, according to the territory’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources (ENR).

The findings were part of an April 29 ENR update on water levels and flow rates relevant to communities at risk for seasonal flooding.

According to this update, the portion of the Hay River in the NWT is still firmly frozen over, although snow has begun to melt in the southern part of the basin in northwestern Alberta.

Ice along the Liard River is similarly solid within the NWT itself, although snow is melting across the basin. Water levels are gradually beginning to rise both in the Hay River and the Liard River near Fort Liard, although in the former case, the report says “the rate of increase is still small.”

Similarly, ice is breaking up in the Peace and Athabasca basins, but that has not been observed along the Mackenzie River.

The update cites an Environment and Climate Change Canada report forecasting warm temperatures starting May 3 and continuing until the following weekend.

“This warm weather will help to melt remaining snowpacks and expedite the melt of river ice,” the report reads.

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