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Hay River breakup is now ‘imminent,’ officials say

A webcam photo of river conditions in Paradise Valley as of May 4, 2021
A webcam photo of river conditions in Paradise Valley as of May 4, 2021. Photo: Town of Hay River


The Town of Hay River says breakup is now “imminent locally.” Vale Island and West Channel residents should prepare for the possibility of evacuation at short notice.

In an emailed update, the town said water levels were “rising steadily on the Hay River at all monitoring stations.”

“We will see temperatures rise over the next few days, which will increase the melt of ice and snow, and we will see levels on the southern NWT watershed growing more rapidly,” the town told residents.



Glenn Smith, Hay River’s senior administrative officer, told Cabin Radio by email: “As of right now, [we’re] seeing some slight localized breakup and more water, but nothing too significant quite yet.”

The town has cameras along the Hay River to track the water flow and conditions.

At Alexandra Falls, the river broke on Monday and the camera shows loose ice heading over the waterfall. At Delancey Estates, the camera shows water from bank to bank. The town said this indicated “ice is starting to move closer to town.”

A webcam photo at Alexandra Falls on May 4, 2021. Photo: Town of Hay River

Paradise Valley levels were “remaining constant.” Officials expect the river to break there later on Tuesday.

According to the town’s Facebook page, an evacuation centre is open at the Hay River community centre for Vale Island residents to set up trailers and RVs. To access that service, residents must call the registration call centre at (833) 699-0188.

The Hay River Pentecostal Chapel is offering temporary storage space for residents of Vale Island looking to protect belongings from potential flooding.