Increasing water levels over the last few weeks, and thick ice in some areas have created a mass amount of pressure and force on docks in the Kenora area, causing some to rupture or even break away.
Water levels will continue to rise as the remaining ice and snow in the area continues to melt. Greg Thompson, from Docks and Lifts Unlimited, says the ice still on Lake of the Woods is actually lifting permanent or pipe docks right out of the water.
“We’re at the mercy of mother nature here,” says Thompson. “These permanent docks either pipe piles or the older construction crib docks the ice is actually grabbing them and lifting them out of their foundation.”
“The ice is still frozen or attached underneath, so it will actually lift the docks upwards as the water comes up,” adds Thompson. “Really the only hope we have is mother nature takes care of us with some more sun and warm weather to get rid of the ice.”
Since April 20, water levels on Lake of the Woods have risen by roughly 25”, while levels on the Winnipeg River have risen by about 67” since early April.
Until mother nature gives the region more sunshine and warmer temperatures, Thompson adds there are some ways to support your permanent or pipe docks to prevent it from floating away.
“You can try to cut away the ice free from them with a chainsaw or there are options with aerators or bubblers to try and install to break up the ice around your docks to try and stop the lifting.”
Thompson says a bubbler is an apparatus that would be put into the water to create aeration or bubbles to break up the ice inside the water. If you can’t get your hands on a bubbler, he notes there is the option to secure the dock to a structure onshore.
“In the event, something breaks free or breaks loose you got another security line or tether that can keep it at least on your shoreline, and then it can be fixed once the ice is gone. Just have a check and secure it as much as you can until the ice is gone.”
In response to the high water levels, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry has issued a Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook, in effect until May 13. Their statement aims to give early notice of the potential for flooding throughout the region.
Throughout the winter the Kenora area saw 305.8 cm of snowfall from September 2021 until Monday (May 2, 2022), which broke a 61-year-old winter snowfall record. Last winter, the region only received 102.9 cm of snow from September 2020 until June 2021.
In April, 67.8 mm of rain fell at the Kenora Airport, which broke a 62-year-old rainfall record for the month. Almost half of that monthly amount came in the last weekend of the month, as 30.8 mm of rain fell.