Residents of a lakeside community in Bowmanville, Ont., are bracing for a possible second round of flooding with lake levels already at historic highs and more rain on the way.
Gordon Giffin's house is one of about 35 homes that could be affected by flooding in the Cedar Crest Beach area in the municipality of Clarington. On Sunday and Monday, community members and emergency workers teamed up to erect sandbag barriers around homes as high winds and heavy rains threatened to flood their properties. Some homes ended up with water in their crawl spaces.
Lake Ontario is the highest it's been in 24 years — about 55 centimetres above average — thanks to record levels of spring rain.
With rivers swollen and the ground already saturated, up to 50 millimetres of rain is forecast to fall over Thursday and Friday, prompting Environment Canada to issue a special weather statement about possible flooding.
Water could crest rock wall
Giffin wasn't taking any chances on Wednesday: his sump pump was running steadily and his house is already encircled by sandbags.
He had water in his house earlier this week and he's hoping to prevent it from happening again.
"We saw the water rise and come over the rocks and it actually came up and over our road," he said. "The waves were pounding in so high, which resulted in our basement flooding."
Clarington Fire Chief Gord Weir said it's the combination of rain and wind that poses the biggest threat to properties.
"If the winds and surge pick up, then we could see more flooding," he said. Weir said it's been more than 20 years since the homes in the area were last threatened by flood waters. "These conditions are unusual and we're assisting where we can," he said.
Homeowner Sarah Delicate said she and her neighbours feel it's a matter of when, not if, water reaches their homes.
Much of the rock wall that protects her property is already under water.
"There's not enough height now … between our rock wall and the top of the lake. So it's not going to take much to push that lake over the rock walls," she said.