Water levels on the Peel and Arctic Red rivers “could approach or exceed the highest level on record” when breakup takes place, the NWT government says.
In a Friday update, the territorial government said temperatures in the region are expected to rise well above seasonal highs from Sunday onward and may lead to rapidly changing conditions.
Anyone near those rivers is encouraged to take note of the conditions and be careful.
“Water levels may rise suddenly as the ice breaks up and snowmelt water moves towards streams and rivers,” the territory warned on Friday. “Land users should be aware of this.”
What happens next will depend on how and where ice jams build and release.
Elsewhere, the territory said, satellite imagery indicates that breakup has progressed down the Mackenzie River past Tulita and is expected to move through Norman Wells over the next 24 hours. Water levels near Norman Wells are reported to have been rising since 1:30am on Friday.
Ice has started to shift near Fort Good Hope, but Mackenzie River ice has not yet pushed past the Ramparts formation, Friday’s update added. Ice is expected to continue to degrade and move down the Mackenzie River through the weekend.
Farther south, Hay River and Fort Simpson have already come through this year’s breakup without incident after suffering significant flooding in recent years.