Hay River issues ‘precautionary’ evacuation notice

The Town of Hay River issued a “precautionary” evacuation notice on Wednesday afternoon in response to shifting ice conditions on the river.

The message, issued at 3:30pm, applies to all Hay River residents. It isn’t an evacuation order, but instead asks people to focus on “general flood and evacuation preparedness planning.”

“Local movement of ice” triggered the notice, the town stated, adding that ice is “currently consolidating near Miron Drive and between Mile 5 and Smiths Road. The movement has not been consistent, nor has any push from the south started.”


The area in question lies just south of central Hay River.

The warning comes despite recent assessments that overall conditions don’t appear as conducive to flooding as they were last year. The issuing of an evacuation notice highlights that in any year, what happens to the ice is critical – an ice jam, even in an otherwise unthreatening year, can divert huge quantities of water onto land and cause chaos.

An evacuation alert (meaning be ready to leave) and an evacuation order (an instruction to go) could follow if conditions worsen, the town stated. Updates will be provided at 10am and 5pm daily and “active monitoring of the river” has started.

Visit the town’s breakup information page for more details.