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Fort Erie, Port Colborne under flood watch as Niagara Region continues winter storm cleanup

Crystal Beach on Lake Erie experienced some of the biggest waves and suffered floods during the blizzard on the Christmas weekend. (Submitted by Wayne Redekop - image credit)
Crystal Beach on Lake Erie experienced some of the biggest waves and suffered floods during the blizzard on the Christmas weekend. (Submitted by Wayne Redekop - image credit)

The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority (NPCA) has issued a flood watch for the towns of Fort Erie and Port Colborne while cleanup from the weekend blizzard continues.

Warmer weather is expected to melt some of the massive snowfall. Combine that with rainfall this upcoming weekend and the area can expect increased runoff directed into local ditches, watercourses and the storm sewer system, according to the NPCA.

The NPCA said in a release on Dec. 28 that there is a chance of localized floods due to roadside ditches filled with debris, ice and snow.

The Town of Fort Erie also issued a warning about climbing or walking on ice because it is difficult to predict where hidden holes are in ice shelves.

"Because our crews are still busy with cleanup of snow and hydrant clearing, and pushing back snow on the roads… we are asking people to take a look at the drains in their area," Kelly Walsh, Fort Erie's director of engineering told CBC Hamilton on Thursday.

"If they see a blockage, whether it be leaves from the fall or it's plugged with ice, if they could help us out and clear that drain it can help prevent flooding."

State of emergency over

The storm brought waves from Lake Erie reaching heights of about two metres, which flooded shoreline communities. High winds and snow caused trees to fall and caused power outages for days.

Walsh said the cleanup of the roads is running smoothly, and the nicer weather is easing the melting of the snow.

"We currently don't have concerns about flooding," he said Thursday. Fort Erie ended its state of emergency Thursday, with the Niagara Region following suit, while it cleans up the roads and power lines.

Canadian Niagara Power said on Dec. 28 that it had brought power back to 97 per cent of Port Colborne and Fort Erie.