Windsor

Windsor residents clean up flooded basements: 'Everything is totally ruined'

Two days of torrential storms left Windsor and Essex County residents scrambling to clean up flooded basements and struggling to drive on roads made impassable by water.
The washer and dryer of Sandra Coates, who lives on Longfellow Avenue in Windsor, float in her flooded basement on Aug. 29, 2017. ((Meg Roberts/CBC))

Two days of torrential storms left Windsor and Essex County residents scrambling to clean up flooded basements and struggling to drive on roads made impassable by water. 

"It's flooded from my front porch right across the street and you can't even see the ditches out front," said Sandra Coates, who was dealing with about four feet of water in the basement of her Longfellow Avenue home.

Her son was there Tuesday with a pump but the damage had already been done. Her washer and dryer were floating and water lapped at the bottom of her basement stairs.

"Everything down there is totally ruined," said Coates. "If it still rains tonight, which it's supposed to, it will probably get deeper."

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens told a 6:15 p.m. news conference at the downtown fire hall that 170 millimetres of rain had been recorded at the Grand Marais drain. That's less than the 200-230 millimetres recorded last September, when thousands of homes flooded and Windsor and Tecumseh declared a state of emergency.

Dilkens said the city had received 310 calls about basement flooding and an additional 175 calls about flooded roads. 

Heavy rains rolled in about 7 p.m. Monday and pounded Windsor, McGregor, Lakeshore and Tecumseh, in particular, where volunteers reported rainfall totals as high as 129 millimetres. A total of 57.4 millimetres was recorded at Windsor Airport, shattering a record for Aug. 28 set in 1961. 

The rain didn't let up Tuesday and between 80 and 150 millimetres doused the Windsor area between noon and 4 p.m. Devonshire Mall closed, Windsor Regional Hospital was flooded and declared a 'Code Orange'. Motorists abandoned stalled vehicles in streets and Windsor Police even closed E.C. Row.

George Horvath has lived on Ida Street in South Walkerville for 55 years and this is the first time he's ever had to deal with a flooded basement. He estimated he had about 64 mms in his basement. 

"Everything is bad, son of a gun," said Horvath. "I don't know what to say."

Nicole McMillan arrived at her Ida Street home Tuesday afternoon to find 114 mms of water in her basement, where her young daughter's bedroom is located. 

"Everything has been ruined. The flooring is lifting and the terrible odour of sewage is now around our house completely," said McMillan. "We're just hoping to salvage some personal items, some memories. Thank goodness things are replaceable. Most things."

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