Flooding continues in Fort Frances as heavy rain expected across northwestern Ontario
Tornado watch issued for Fort Frances, Atikokan, and Ignace areas
Town officials in Fort Frances are continuing to work to address flooding in the northwestern Ontario community.
As of Monday, Fort Frances has closed sections of Front Street, as well as walking and bike paths along the street. Also closed are the Front Street playground and fitness equipment, the Sorting Gap Marina gas docks and boat launch, Lookout Tower, the Hallett, Crowe Avenue Dock, Point Park and Seven Oaks.
"The rains from [Sunday] night and [Monday] morning caused the water levels to come up a bit," said Patrick Briere, the town's emergency management specialist. "We've had some overland flooding issues now."
Water levels in Rainy Lake have already surpassed those of eight years ago, when flooding caused significant damage in the town.
"This is new ground for us," Briere said. "We're above the 2014 water level."
"We do have water ponding in many areas of town, and we're just kind of working with through our control group and all of our stakeholders to put in plans for mitigation and protection of assets and infrastructure."
Sandbagging operations continued Monday, and volunteers were sought to assist, the town said in a media release.
Briere said sandbags were being placed along low-lying areas of Front Street and Point Park, and the town was working with residents in some areas of Fort Frances to help them protect their property.
Some localized failures in the Fort Frances storm sewer system have been reported due to water levels, and there has been some erosion and damage to docks along the waterfront.
Weather advisories across the region
As of late Monday afternoon, Environment Canada had issued a tornado watch for Fort Frances, Emo, Rainy River, Atikokan, Ignace, English River, Seine River Village, and Mine Centre.
Rainfall warnings also in effect for the Fort Frances and Rainy Lake areas, as well as Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Sandy Lake, and Pikangikum. Severe thunderstorm watches are also in effect for the Kenora, Dryden and Vermillion Bay areas.
The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry also issued flood watches for the Thunder Bay district on Monday afternoon.
The watch covers the upper Kaminstiquia River, Seine River, and Lac des Mille Lacs watersheds, and people are advised to use caution around less-travelled roads, bridges, water crossings, lakes, and rivers.
The flood watch is expected to remain in effect until Friday.