NEWS

Ontario Flooding Hits Hard, Communities Hope The Worst Is Over

04/22/2013 04:10 EDT | Updated 06/21/2013 05:12 EDT
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HUNTSVILLE, Ont. - Water levels in some central Ontario communities are at the highest in recent memory, but officials believe the worst of the flooding may be over.

Seven communities in cottage country areas — from Muskoka to Kawartha Lakes — are in states of emergency as they deal with flooding that submerged roads and forced dozens of people to evacuate waterlogged homes.

Flooding along the major rivers has peaked, though water levels are still quite high, said Jolanta Kowalski, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Natural Resources.

"My understanding is that this is record levels in a number of locations," she said. "They're calling it the one in a 100 year type flood."

The communities aren't out of the woods yet, she said.

"The water does move in different ways," Kowalski said. "But it's a good thing that the water levels have peaked and then things are starting to come down, but there could still be some localized flooding."

In Bracebridge, the levels of the north and south branches of the Muskoka River appear to have peaked, though they're not expected to drop for at least another few days, said the town's chief administrative officer, John Sisson.

"These are just anecdotally exceeding anything that people have seen over the past number of years," he said.

Rain is expected mid-week, but the community is hoping it will only have a minimal impact on the flooding, Sisson said.

An official with the city of Kawartha Lakes says the level of the Burnt River dropped 30 centimetres overnight, though it is still almost a metre above normal levels for this time of year.

An update from Huntsville today said the flooding seems to have peaked downtown and other areas in the municipality have seen water levels drop.

Ontario Minister of Community Safety Madeleine Meilleur issued a statement Sunday saying she has spoken to a number of mayors of communities affected by the flooding and offered government support.

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