Flood Status Messages

The Otonabee Region Conservation Authority (ORCA) monitors weather information, river flows, snow pack and ice conditions in order to predict when floods will occur and how high the water may rise. When flooding is possible, or about to occur, the ORCA  issues flood messages to municipal emergency management officials and the media.

As a result of a review of flood message terminology, ORCA and Conservation Authorities across the province have introduced some changes effective February 2012. These changes will ensure that Conservation Authorities use consistent terminology in line with that used by other agencies such as the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment Canada and the Weather Network.

Types of messages

ORCA issues four types of messages, depending on conditions:

  1. Normal
  2. Watershed Conditions Statement  (with two variations: “Water Safety” and “Flood Outlook”)
  3. Flood Watch
  4. Flood Warning

Flood Messages and What They Mean


Normal: No flood conditions exist

Watershed Conditions Statement – Water Safety

High flows, unsafe banks, melting ice or other factors that could be dangerous for recreational users such as anglers, canoeists, hikers, children, pets, etc. Flooding is not expected.

Watershed Conditions Statement – Flood Outlook

Early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snow melt, high wind or other conditions that could lead to high runoff, cause ice jams, lakeshore flooding or erosion.

Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in specific watercourses or municipalities. Municipalities, emergency services and individual landowners in flood-prone areas should prepare.

Flood Warning – Flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses or municipalities.