RENFREW COUNTY AND AREA – A potentially lethal mixture of warm weather and rain, along with rapidly melting snow recently has been causing concerns of flooding across the county and beyond.
Beginning on April 19, increased runoffs to lakes and rivers in a number of areas, from Hastings Highlands, to South Algonquin Township, Madawaska Valley, Renfrew County and even as far as the Montreal region, to name a few, has had several townships sending out advisories, and declaring states of emergencies.
In the South Algonquin area, rising waters from Friday afternoon onwards continued to cause damage to the Galeairy Lake Dam, in the Village of Whitney and to property along the Madawaska River.
The Bancroft Districts’ Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) dispatched work crews to the dam to perform emergency repairs, as water volumes rose to a historic high, according to a recent press release from the South Algonquin Township. With heavy rains in excess of 50mm and with rapid melting of the remaining snow packs contributing, water volumes were 40 per cent greater than the highest levels ever recorded.
In addition, three bridges within the township were also identified as at risk, including the Highway 60 Bridge, Algonquin Street Bridge and the Major Lake Bridge.
On April 20, around 3:45 p.m., the township officially declared a state of emergency in accordance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
In Bancroft, concerns of the York River flooding caused officials to declare a state of emergency as well. On Monday April 22, schools and a children’s centre, were closed due to the flooding, with the expectation that some institutions could continue to see closures.
Flooding has occurred in several other parts of Central Ontario, including Huntsville and the town of Bracebridge, too. Both of which, also declared states of emergencies on April 19.
Floodwaters in these areas have also reached a record high, according to town officials.
In many areas, the power was shut off to ensure the community’s safety, as the water levels continued to rise.
Heavy rain caused several road closures and washouts across both municipalities. Bracebridge, alone, has seen more than 20 roads closed.
The Bracebridge Sportsplex and Oakley Village Square have been providing shelters for individuals affected by the flooding.
Story continues in the Arpil 24, 2013 issue of The Valley Gazette.