Mudslide closes Kenilworth Access as city drenched
Downpour causes flooding troubles all over the city; rains continuing, possible snow flurries on Sunday
Relentless rain has so far caused a mudslide on Kenilworth Access, flooded basements and streets, undermined a section of York Road and overwhelmed the city’s sewage treatment plant — with a wet weekend still to come.
Rocks, mud and tree branches came sliding down the sodden hillside above the Mountain-climbing road around 5 p.m. Friday, but most of the debris was caught by concrete rock fence protecting the roadway.
While no one was injured and no vehicles were damaged, the city has closed all upbound lanes of the eastend access as a precaution. Crews will report Saturday to work on cleanup and repairs.
The slow-but-steady rain — more than 50 mm had been recorded by the Royal Botanical Gardens between Thursday and Friday afternoon — also washed out part of the shoulder of the west leg of the Sherman Access. The city will close that leg between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday to repair the
The deluge has forced the city treatment plant to allow partially untreated sewage to flow into the harbour to protect residents from sewer backups. This is called “secondary bypass mode” and has been the case since 7 p.m. Thursday night, and will continue into the weekend depending on the rainfall.
Relatively few basement floods — fewer than 10 as of midday — were reported to the city Friday. An April 20 storm, by comparison, dumped a month’s worth of rain on parts of Hamilton in a matter of hours and prompted more than 100 residents to ask the city for compassionate grants to deal with wet basements.
The comparison is cold comfort for Jim Lorentz and his neighbours on the Beach Strip, which saw the worst local flooding Friday — and through most of last week — thanks in part to Lake Ontario levels that are higher than any seen since the early 1990s.
“I have five pumps working in the basement now,” said a frustrated Lorentz, staring at a small lake of water covering the deadend side of Bayside Avenue.
“It doesn’t matter; the water just keeps coming. I’ve lost the furnace, the water heater, an antique bed. There’s no stopping it.”
Sucker trucks could be seen clearing out sewers at the end of at least five Beach Strip side streets Friday, but dozens of homeowners have, nonetheless, reported wet crawl spaces and basements.
Lorentz noted his home is only a few years old and was built under new city rules meant to keep crawl spaces and first floors above historical flood levels on the strip. He wondered whether those standards should be changed, “or whether they’re being enforced.”
Flooding did affect residents in other parts of the city, including at the base of the escarpment in Corktown.
“It just keeps leaking into the basement. First one side, then the other,” said Stan Ferguson, who said he has been wet-vacuuming the bowels of his 1880s-era twostorey home near Corktown Park for several days.
“It’s into the drywall now, so I’ll have to deal with that — if it ever stops raining,” he said with a laugh.
Road-flooding was a concern throughout the day, with the Desjardins Canal overflowing onto King Street East near Olympic Drive and the swollen Grindstone Creek spilling over Valley Inn Road.
Part of York Road in Dundas is closed at least through the weekend due to fears swollen creek water has undermined the road around a damaged culvert.
On the upside, a large metal grate at a critical pinch-point in Sydenham Creek in Dundas was clear of debris Friday.
The grate clogged with debris during the April 20 rainstorm and was blamed for widespread surface flooding in the area when the creek overflowed.
Looking ahead, soccer players and impatient gardeners can also expect to suffer as a result of the soggy weather.
The city warned residents the wet weather would delay the normal May 8 opening of most natural sports fields and ball diamonds, and that the Waterfront Trail is closed between Bayfront Park and Cootes Drive.
The Corporal Nathan Cirillo Leash Free Dog Park in Ancaster and the Spencer Creek Trail in Dundas are closed due to flooding.
The city also nixed a free compost and mulch giveaway that had been planned for May 6. The rain date is May 13.
More than 50 mm of rain has been recorded at the Royal Botanical Gardens as of late Friday.
More drizzle is expected Saturday and temperatures are expected to stay low throughout the weekend, hovering around 6 to 8 C before dropping to zero on Sunday with possible flurries.
The never-ending rain — nearly 200 mm was recorded in April — spurred the Hamilton Conservation Authority to issue a floodwatch
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.
The City of Burlington has closed all parks with creeks and waterfront trails as a precaution during the heavy rains, while the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority is warning residents in Wellandport, Smithville, Virgil, Beamsville, and Stevensville to watch rising river and creek levels.
Kenilworth Access closed at hairpin turn after mudslide.
Passenger vehicle heading east on a partially flooded King Street East, toward Olympic Drive, in Dundas.
Churning lake Ontario waves have obliterated the shoreline.
Gary Lynch capturing the fury of the storm on the pier as our wacky weather continues.