Homeowners should brace themselves for potential flooding this week as rain combines with melting snow to threaten basements and ditches.

Forecasts are calling for up to 30 millimetres of rain, which creates a flood risk, said Scott Peck, director of planning and engineering with the Hamilton Conservation Authority. The ground is still frozen, which means rain and melting snow will run off it without getting absorbed.

“We’ve experienced a good old fashioned winter here,” Peck said. “There’s lots of snow out there and the ground conditions are frozen. If things happen a certain way, we could certainly experience this spring some significant flooding.

Here are some tips to prepare for flooding:

  • Clear all culverts, catch basins and watercourses to make sure water can flow freely. Make sure there’s no snow, trees, garbage or other debris blocking them. 
  • Clear fire hydrants around your house.
  • If your home has a backwater valve installed on the sewer, follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning to make sure it's functioning properly. Make sure your sump pump is working too.
  • If your home is prone to flooding, get valuable items off the basement floor.
  • Clean your eaves troughs. When they're blocked, rain will pour over the edges and could spill into your basement.
  • Stay away from fast-flowing streams and ponds, and stay off the ice. Higher temperatures will weaken it this week.
  • If you see a flooded area, don’t go near it. Don’t try to drive your car or walk through it.
  • Stay away from areas known to flood.
  • If you see a flooded road, call the city at 546-CITY to report it.

The conservation authority will monitor water levels all week. As spring nears, the best scenario is for temperature increases and snow melt to happen slowly so the ground can absorb it, he said. 

City crews are out clearing catch basins Wednesday to prepare for the rain, said Bob Paul, the city's manager of winter control. 

"We’ve had crews out starting last night and all day today tending to prone areas," he said.

The forecast calls for rain early Thursday afternoon and continuing Friday. Temperatures will climb as high as 5 C.