Support from northerners like you keeps our journalism alive. Sign up here.

Fresh snowfall warning as breakup reaches critical stage

A property on Hay River's Vale Island on May 7, 2022
A property on Hay River's Vale Island on May 7, 2022. Photo: Édith Vachon-Raymond

Hay River, Fort Providence and Fort Simpson are braced for more heavy snow on Monday at an anxious moment in the NWT’s 2022 breakup season.

Rising water in Hay River triggered a series of weekend evacuation orders. Late on Sunday, all riverfront properties – including some downtown areas – were placed on evacuation alert, meaning residents should be prepared to leave.

Power briefly went out in Hay River on Sunday night, an outage attributed by the NWT Power Corporation to a transmission line problem between Hay River and Fort Smith. The town is relying on backup diesel power for the time being, the corporation said on Monday.

So far, the ice is reported to be holding fast in Jean Marie River and Fort Simpson along the Mackenzie River.



On Monday morning, Environment Canada said Hay River and the Dehcho can each expect up to another five cm of snow throughout the day, following a weekend of rain and snow throughout the region.

More: Follow breakup updates on our dedicated page

For breakup to coincide with such a significant storm is unusual, the territorial government said over the weekend. Heavy rain has flooded areas of northern Alberta and washed out roads, and the impact of that water reaching the NWT in the days ahead is not yet clear.

“The heaviest snowfall will taper off through the day today,” Environment Canada said in its Monday morning advisory, warning of treacherous conditions on highways.

There were no major incidents shown on the NWT’s highway conditions map as of 8am on Monday. The Alberta 511 highway update service reported a likely closure some time on Monday at Kemp River on Highway 35, south of High Level, to repair a culvert washout.