Heavy rain and warm temperatures have prompted a flood warning for all rivers and creeks in Sudbury — an upgrade from a flood watch, which was issued earlier for the city.
A warning means flooding is imminent or already occurring in specific watercourses, according to the Nickel District Conservation Authority website.
The general manager of the authority said there is concern about the Wahnapitae, Vermillion and Onaping rivers, which all run through the city.
"We have a lot of snow still sitting up there — two feet.[There's] a lot of water content to that," Paul Sajatovic said.
"So the concern would be if we get heavy rains in a reasonably short period of time with rising temperatures that could begin to move fairly quickly. We need to monitor that."
Sajatovic said officials will meet again Thursday morning to decide if the flood watch needs to be upgraded to a flood warning — meaning flooding is imminent or already occurring in some areas.
Residents asked to prepare
City officials are asking residents to do what they can to prepare.
Currently, water levels flowing through the city's sewer system are three times more than its capacity, said Nick Benkovich, director of water and wastewater services for the City of Greater Sudbury.
"That increases the risk of back-ups to the community," he said.
"If the water does back up, it will back up into basements or spill to the natural environment, which is really an undesirable consequence."
'Pay attention to what the public forecasts are.' —Paul Sajatovic, Nickel District Conservation Authority
Crews are working to reduce the water level and residents can help by limiting water usage during heavy rainfall, Benkovich added.
Residents are advised to make sure their sump pumps are working.
If flooding does occur, people are asked to contact the city by phoning 3-1-1.
Water closes highway
Some localized flooding has already occurred.
Margaret Corrigan lives on Burton Street, just off Highway 17, on the eastern edge of Greater Sudbury.
The street was submerged and her yard was surrounded by water Wednesday.
"It's a small ditch with a culvert, and with all the rain and snow and everything the culvert froze,' she said. "It's full of ice."
High water levels have one secondary highway in the Sudbury area closed. Highway 537 is closed at Jumbo Creek, the OPP said. There is no word on when the roadway will re-open.
A collapsed culvert has also closed one lane of Highway 64 near the community centre in Alban. The Ministry of Transportation said that is not related to flooding and it could take into next week for crews to replace the culvert.
Greater Sudbury tips to prevent flooding in your home: