Top Tips to Keep You Safe While Enjoying the Outdoors this Spring

March 7, 2024, Toronto, ON — Spring weather is right around the corner and will bring warmer temperatures and new opportunities for recreational activities. However, spring weather can also increase the risk of flooding from spring rainfall events. Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) wants to remind everyone to practice spring safety and remember the following tips:

  • Avoid activities in and around rivers, and other water bodies, such as ponds and lakes, as the banks may be muddy and slippery.
  • Keep family and pets away from the surfaces and edges of all bodies of water to prevent falling into cold and potentially fast-flowing water.
  • Never drive through flooded roads or fast-moving water.
  • If you live next to a river or stream, move patio furniture or other objects away from the water’s edge to avoid losing them during high water.
  • Rescuing another person or a pet from cold or fast-flowing water is extremely dangerous. If you see someone has fallen in a body of water, call 911 for help immediately.

While the winter has had persistently milder temperatures and reduced the likelihood of significant ice formation on rivers and lakes, any existing ice coverage on rivers, lakes, and ponds will be very thin and dangerous. These areas should be avoided.

a thin layer of ice covers a portion of a local watercourse on a spring day

With minimal accumulation of snowfall this winter, TRCA is not expecting any significant amounts of runoff into river systems due to snowmelt this spring. Nevertheless, dangerous conditions around watercourses can still occur with spring rainfall events as ground conditions continue to thaw out, so it is important to remain cautious and follow our safety tips.

For spring safety facts and tips, visit

TRCA continuously monitors the watersheds in its jurisdiction for potential flooding through the Flood Forecasting and Warning Program, and will continue to monitor watershed conditions throughout the transition to spring.

bare trees line a watercourse on a spring afternoon

Spring Safety Facts:

  • Slippery riverbanks and cold-water temperatures can lead to dangerous conditions close to any body of water.
  • Any remaining ice and snow cover on rivers and lakes can weaken and become unstable with warmer temperatures.


Seasonal Spring Water Levels on Lake Ontario:

The International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board is responsible for the regulation of outflows from Lake Ontario and provides forecasts.

During spring, water levels for Lake Ontario rise due to the snow and rain runoff from all the river systems that drain into it. Elevated water levels, combined with an increase in wave action from high winds cause shortened beaches, flooding of low-lying areas next to the lake, higher than normal water levels at the mouths of rivers, as well as erosion to trails and other public spaces.

erosion threatens a Lake Ontario shoreline trail

To learn more about Lake Ontario’s risks and impacts visit

Water level forecast information for Lake Ontario can be found on the International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board website.

For More Information, Contact Your Local Conservation Authority: