Thunder Bay and surrounding communities are now under a Flood Warning, a higher level of alert than the flood watch the area has been under all weekend. The Lakehead Region Conservation Authority issued the warning at noon on Monday.
In a news release, it said approximately 50 to 60 mm of rain had fallen in the last 24 hours and expected another 45 mm to fall Monday throughout the day and overnight.
The conservation authority said flooding is "imminent or occurring in the Lakehead Region. Area watercourses have reacted to received precipitation and are expected to continue to rise rapidly over the next 24 hours."
It advised "extreme caution" when travelling in the area because water could flow over roads.
The Ontario Provincial Police reported several washouts that made sections of area roads impassable. Those roads include:
- Highway 593 about 10 km from Highway 61
- Auto Road about two km west of Dawson Road
- Blakie Road at White Fish River
- Kilometre 8 on Flanders Road to Lac La Croix
The OPP said Highway 527 (8.5 km from Highway 11/17), Silver Springs Road and Two Island Lake Road off Highway 589 were washing out but still passable.
The municipality of Neebing has closed Oliver Creek Road by McCluskey, Sturgeon Bay Road from the end of the chipseal to Margaret St. and Walker Road by CopperCliff Road.
The city of Thunder Bay said staff are monitoring the rainfall.
Darrell Matson, general manager of Infrastructure and Operations, said city infrastructure was performing to expectations and that everything was flowing properly in the city's sewer systems.
Officials are warning the public to be careful around waterways and to keep an eye on weather forecasts.
"Use caution around waterways. They could rapidly increase in height and speed and velocity," said Bill Bartley, chair of the authority.
A year ago, hundreds of Thunder Bay residents suffered serious flooding in their basements when the sewer system failed during a heavy rainfall.
Monday's flood warning covers Thunder Bay, Neebing, Oliver Paipoonge, Shuniah, and the townships of O'Connor, Conmee, Gillies and Dorion. The conservation authority said it will remain in effect until Tuesday at noon.