Bracebridge flooding now ‘historical event’: mayor

A state of emergency remains in effect in Bracebridge and the rest of cottage country continues to be hit hard by flooding. Erica Natividad speaks with volunteers working to prevent as much damage as they can.

By The Canadian Press and News Staff

The mayor of Bracebridge says the late-season snow is a welcome sight as it acts as a “sponge” for rising floodwaters that now mark a “historical event.”

Mayor Graydon Smith says water levels in several areas of the small town in central Ontario’s cottage country are up slightly this morning due to rain yesterday, but today’s snow may help slow the flow into lakes, rivers and streams.

Bracebridge is one several communities north of Toronto, including Huntsville and Minden Hills, that have declared emergencies this week due to flooding.

Smith said in a press conference today that a major lake north of the community has crested, but water levels continue to rise, signalling that outflow is going up and headed towards Bracebridge.

He says water flow in the north branch of the Muskoka River at Port Sydney was measured this morning at 259 cubic metres per second – above the previously recorded high of 228 cubic metres per second.

Smith says compared to the devastating flooding the region faced in 2013, current water levels are higher and have affected more residents and homes.

“It’s safe to say what we are dealing with right now is a historical event…. Putting it in context of 2013, this is now its own animal,” he said.

“Environment Canada flow data shows that flows will continue to rise for the next 48 to 72 hours. …The Town is encouraging residents to take precautionary measures to ensure life safety.”

Smith says road closures are impacting the delivery of supplies and services to the area. He also cautioned seasonal property owners to avoid driving up to check on their properties until the emergency has subsided.

There are also drinking water advisories in effect in all flooded areas and thereā€™s an open call for volunteers to assist with sand bagging.

Bell Canada says it plans to cut landline service to part of the region as their infrastructure is being compromised by the rising waters.

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