Shoreline and flood worries as wind and rain hit Hamilton and region

A flood watch is in effect for Hamilton, as a result of the forecasted rainfall over the next 2 to 3 days.

High water levels may lead to some shoreline flooding and beach erosion

Heavy rain clogged storm drains in Dundas in April and flooded at least eight streets in the area. ((Rebuild Hamilton/Twitter))

A flood watch is in effect for Hamilton as the city and much of southern Ontario brace for several more days of rain.

The Hamilton Conservation Authority (HCA) says this forecasted rainfall may result in further increases in water levels and flows in area watercourses, with the potential for significant flooding. 

There is further concern about the potential impacts of northerly winds on the shores of Lake Ontario. Those  winds may increase the risk of shoreline flooding and erosion, with Lake Ontario levels already high.

The latest rainfall — from Thursday through to Saturday — comes on top of records numbers for the year so far.

"This has been a record rainy first 125 days of a year, never has there been so much rain in that period in the Hamilton area," said Dave Phillips, Environment Canada.

Phillips says Hamilton has received about 87 per cent more rain than the city would normally get so far this year.

The potential rainfall may also result in local drainage issues in low-lying or poorly drained areas, and storm sewer systems may become overwhelmed in intense rainfalls over short durations.

York Road closed west of Highway 6

The city of Hamilton is already taking precautions, It will be closing York Road between Valley Road and Old Guelph Road in Dundas immediately following the evening rush tonight for public safety purposes. 

York Road will be closed 1.5 kilometres west of Highway 6 while crews assess the condition of a damaged culvert and embankment that could be a potential hazard during the forecasted rain. 

Signs marking a detour route will be installed tomorrow morning, the expected length of the closure is unknown. 

HCA says it is watching the rain and forecasts, and monitoring watercourses with flow gauges. 

"We do anticipate there will be an increase in water levels beyond what they have been and they could go even higher with the wave action," said Jonathan Bastien, a water resources engineer for HCA. 

Over the last five weeks Hamilton has been really impacted by the rain, Phillips describes this weather as a "water torture test" since the city has been getting so much rain over a long period of time.

This month compared to typical May

Environment Canada says in the month of May Hamilton will typically see around 80 millimetres of rain on average. In the first two days Hamilton has seen 25 millimetres of rain and has another 70 or more millimetres predicted to be coming in the next few days.

The flood watch message is in effect until Monday, at which time it will either be updated or cancelled.

On Monday the city issued its own flooding warnings and offered these tips to avoid flooding:

  • Keep catch basins in front of your home clear of leaves and debris.
  • If your home has a backwater valve installed, follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning to ensure that it is functioning properly.
  • Check your sump pump to make sure it's working properly.
  • If your home is prone to flooding, consider ensuring any valuables are up off of basement floors.
  • Keep your eaves troughs clean. When your eaves troughs are blocked, the rain will pour over the edges and land on the ground next to your home. If you have cracks in the concrete wall of your basement, or problems with your weeping tile, this water could enter your home.

This comes after an April 20 rainstorm flooded parts of Hamilton — especially Dundas. The city declared it a disaster to unlock thousands in potential compassionate grants for homeowners who suffered water damage.