Sand­bags and sump pumps: City braces for flood­ing with steady rain­fall

The Hamilton Spectator - - FRONT PAGE - MOLLY HAYES mhayes@thespec.com 905-526-3214 | @mol­ly­hayes

With up to 70 mm of rain in the fore­cast for Hamil­ton Fri­day, Anne Lees was hop­ing sand­bags and makeshift bar­ri­ers would be enough to keep her prop­erty from flood­ing.

City work­ers dropped sand­bags off at the Dundas res­i­dent’s home Thurs­day, cre­at­ing a dike around the prop­erty be­fore the rain started. Her sloped drive­way flooded with four feet of wa­ter dur­ing the storm two weeks ago. It’s a mess that she is still deal­ing with af­ter wa­ter seeped into her garage and base­ment.

“The sand­bags make us feel a lot better. They should di­vert the wa­ter,” Lees said Thurs­day night. The prob­lem, she says, lies with the grate sys­tem up the street. But she said city work­ers were check­ing on it fre­quently Thurs­day once the rain be­gan.

“So far it looks good,” she said, as neigh­bours stopped by to help build back-up bar­ri­cades for the drive­way. “It’s not com­ing down like it was last time.”

En­vi­ron­ment Canada says Hamil­ton was in for 15 to 25 mm of rain Thurs­day night, which could break the cur­rent record for May 4, which dates back to 1984, when Hamil­ton got 19.2 mm.

An­other 15 to 25 mm was ex­pected to fall Fri­day morn­ing, and an­other 10 to 20 mm by night. Tem­per­a­tures are ex­pected to stay low through­out the week­end, hov­er­ing around 6 to 8 C be­fore drop­ping to zero on Sun­day with pos­si­ble flur­ries.

With so much pre­cip­i­ta­tion on the hori­zon, the Hamil­ton Con­ser­va­tion Au­thor­ity has is­sued yet an­other flood-watch ad­vi­sory for the city.

Wa­ter lev­els are al­ready up, which raises con­cerns about safety and sta­bil­ity around shore­lines, rivers and other wa­ter bod­ies — par­tic­u­larly for chil­dren and pets.

“Lake On­tario wa­ter lev­els re­main well above nor­mal, and are ex­pected to in­crease fur­ther due to the fore­casted rain,” the au­thor­ity said in a re­lease.

“In ad­di­tion, fore­casted northerly winds over the next cou­ple of days may re­sult in in­creased risk of shore­line flood­ing and ero­sion.”

The Grand River Con­ser­va­tion

Au­thor­ity and Con­ser­va­tion Hal­ton also is­sued flood watches. The GRCA noted Cayuga is one of the com­mu­ni­ties par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to flood­ing.

“Ground con­di­tions through­out the water­shed are very sat­u­rated

and have lim­ited abil­ity to ab­sorb rain­fall,” the GRCA cau­tion said. “Stay back from the wa­ter’s edge; it’s slip­pery.”

A com­bi­na­tion of high wa­ter lev­els and high winds led to ero­sion of the path­way along Hamil­ton’s Wa­ter­front Trail, leav­ing it off-lim­its. The Des­jardins Trail was also un­der­wa­ter and has been closed. York Road in Dundas — hit hard dur­ing the last storm — was closed as a pre­cau­tion Thurs­day night so city crews could as­sess a dam­aged cul­vert and em­bank­ment. De­tour signs were ex­pected to be posted Fri­day morn­ing.

Any sewer back­ups, road­way flood­ing, fallen trees or de­bris in drainage ditches or cul­verts should be re­ported to the city at 905-546-2489.

JOHN RENNISON, THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

A sand­bag dike has been erected in front of 48 Ravine Dr. in Dundas af­ter a blocked storm drain on Westoby Court sent wa­ter cas­cad­ing out of the neigh­bour­hood, across Wat­sons Lane.

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