Fort Simpson declares no further flood risk from 2023 breakup

The Village of Fort Simpson says 2023’s breakup season poses no further flood risk to the community after Mackenzie River ice broke without incident.

Water levels on the Mackenzie River in Fort Simpson rose by 4.5 metres on Friday as ice began moving down the river, but levels have since dropped significantly.

“The risk of flooding in Fort Simpson in 2023 is now very low,” the NWT’s Department of Environment and Climate Change said on Saturday morning.


In a statement of its own, the village said: “The flood risk is officially over for this year’s breakup season.”

Helped by unusually warm temperatures, 2023’s breakup season has so far passed quickly and quietly in both Hay River and Fort Simpson, communities that suffered extreme flood damage in 2022 and 2021 respectively.

Attention now shifts farther north, where ECC says the Peel River and Arctic Red River are a concern.

“Although breakup is not yet imminent, early indicators show that there is an increased potential for flooding in the Peel and Arctic Red river basins,” the department stated on Saturday.

“This increased potential stems from highest-on-record over-winter water levels, high precipitation last summer/fall, high snowpack, and a colder-than-normal spring.”


The department says the risk of flooding to cabins and camps in the area will depend on weather conditions over the weeks to come.