Kingston, Brockville area could see a repeat of 2017 flooding

Communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are being warned to brace for flooding as bad as 2017 by the end of May or early June.

50 per cent chance that could happen within 2 weeks

Water rises up to a home on an island near Gananoque, Ont., in 2017. The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority is telling people in their region to prepare for similar flooding in the next two weeks. (Dan Kirkby)

Communities along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are being warned to brace for flooding as bad as 2017 by the end of May or early June.

The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA), which covers an area roughly from Napanee to Brockville, issued an updated statement Friday for areas along the waterways that were placed under a flood warning earlier this month.

The CRCA said that according to the water level forecast issued May 16 by the International Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Board (ILOSLRB), there's now a 50 per cent chance that levels will reach or exceed the highs of 2017 within two weeks.

A peak of approximately 75.9 metres above sea level is expected to occur in early June, with higher levels possible with more rain.

An updated provincial flood watch statement, issued by the Surface Water Monitoring Centre of the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry on May 10, remains in effect.

Approaching 2017 peak

The water levels measured Saturday on the upper part of the St. Lawrence River from Kingston to near Iroquois, Ont., were at 75.76 metres above sea level — about 73 centimetres above average, said Jacob Bruxer, the ILOSLRB's Canadian regulation representative.

That's also a mere 12 centimetres beneath the peak level observed in May 2017, Bruxer said.

That year, high water levels led to submerged and damaged docks, boathouses and boat ramps. They eroded shorelines, caused flooding around homes and cottages in a few locations, and closed roads.

"Within one to two weeks time we could be looking at reaching those 2017 levels," said Bruxer on Sunday.

"When levels are this high, they can increase the risk of damages — especially during storms and wind events."

The CRCA advises people to contact their local municipality if they need help. Residents can find information on where to get sandbags here.

Flooding and erosion damage from high waves are possible during periods of strong winds, and the CRCA is urging residents to pay close attention to forecasts for approaching storms with high winds from the southeast, south or southwest.

Environment Canada is predicting a chance of showers for both Kingston and Brockville Monday, with more rain possible later in the week.

Where to get sandbags in Kingston

Property owners are also reminded to turn off electricity to buildings or structures in flood-prone or low-lying areas and to move gasoline and other chemicals to higher ground. Shoreline work will require a permit from the CRCA. 

The CRCA flood warning statement will remain in effect until June 12 unless it's updated earlier.

The City of Kingston doesn't expect widespread flooding, but it is advising residents in flood-prone areas along the shoreline to keep a close eye on the forecast and take necessary steps to protect their homes.

People who need sandbags in Kingston can call the city at 613-546-0000. The city has sand and sandbags available for pick-up at 875 Innovation Dr.


About the Author

Krystalle Ramlakhan is a multi-platform journalist with CBC Ottawa. She has also worked for CBC in P.E.I., Winnipeg and Iqaluit.


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