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Flood watchers give Thunder Bay residents tips to stay dry

Recent episodes of warm weather and melting snow have some homeowners in Thunder Bay worried about spring flooding.

Some Thunder Bay residents worry about spring flooding, but a few steps can help homes stay dry

Recent episodes of warm temperatures and melting snow have some Thunder Bay homeowners concerned about spring flooding. (Adam Burns/CBC)

Recent episodes of warm weather and melting snow have some homeowners in Thunder Bay worried about spring flooding.

But according to some local experts, there are a few simple steps one can follow to help prevent a soggy situation.

“Keep the snow, the rain, and the water, away from your foundation,” said Robert Nastor of SST Basement Systems. “Do anything you can to keep it away from your foundation.”

If that means hiring a team of shovellers to haul the snow away, Nastor recommends it.

"Take the snow away from the house as quick as possible, or hire some young guys to shovel it away — four to six feet away. We have lots of snow, and it's gonna find its way in, through windows, cracks, crevices, whatever. It's like a little mouse. It'll find its way in."

And he doesn't stop there.

“Don't let [your] lockstone driveways, or [your] paved driveways, slope towards the house. Use a minimum four-foot extension on [your] eavestroughs,” he said.

The city makes similar recommendations. Property owners are encouraged to ensure sump pumps and eavestroughs are working properly, and that downspouts are directed away from foundations.

Darrell Matson, general manager of infrastructure and operations, said despite the deep snow cover, he's not counting on a flood of calls.

“We have had, in the past, this amount of snow. Typically we've seen some years where we get very few calls because it's a slow melt,” he said.

Matson said the city will take corrective action to deal with some flooding situations affecting homes, but he noted city crews will not work on private property.

It's not just homeowners who are hoping for a slow melt in Thunder Bay in the coming weeks. The acting manager of the city’s roads department said the heavy snow cover could be an issue, so he’ll be keeping a close eye on the weather.

“I guess the number one thing we'd be looking at is the long-range forecast, like something [where] the overnight temperature would stay above zero for an extended length of time,” Brian Kral said.

“[That would mean] we're not only dealing with a daytime thaw, but a nighttime thaw as well.”

Kral noted even one particularly warm day could cause significant flooding on Thunder Bay streets.

"The amount of snow that we've had is somewhat of a concern, but with a slow melt it should subside  as much as a smaller amount would. It's a quick thaw that would be of more concern, and probably cause more ... issues."

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