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Severn residents brace for flooding amid rainfall warning (2 photos)

'Overnight, you can have water surrounding your home,' says mayor; Townships urging residents to take measures to protect property

It’s sandbag season in Severn.

As usual at this time of the year, township residents are being urged to take measures to flood-proof their homes as waterways including the Severn River and Sparrow Lake are expected to rise.

Environment Canada has issued a rainfall warning for the region, with amounts of 25 to 50 millimetres possible by Friday evening.

“It’s the same story every year,” said Severn Mayor Mike Burkett. “They haven’t crested yet because we haven’t received much rain, so right now they’re OK.”

But the township isn’t taking any chances. It has provided sand and bags at four locations: Washago Centennial Park, Canal and Cambrian roads, Peninsula Point Road and Bennett Avenue, and the Coldwater Community Centre.

The flood risk isn’t as great in Coldwater, but the sandbags are available just in case, said Derek Burke, Severn’s public works director.

If the region gets anywhere near the maximum amount of rain Environment Canada is predicting, flooding should be expected around the Severn River and Sparrow Lake, Burke said, but added, “Sparrow Lake and receiving bodies are a bit low, so they have some capacity.”

The mayor is urging residents to take advantage of the free sandbags, noting the water can rise quickly with sustained rainfall.

“Overnight, you can have water surrounding your home,” Burkett said.

The township will be monitoring the situation throughout the weekend, said Burke.

“We have routine patrol and I have arranged for special patrol in the areas where we feel it will peak,” he said.

Watch the township’s website and Twitter account for updates. The after-hours number for public works and utilities is 1-855-527-8841. In the event of an emergency, call 911.

Ramara Township is also keeping an eye on water levels. Flooding is a common spring occurrence particularly around the Black River and Lake St. John.

“It’s something our fire department will be monitoring,” said Ramara Mayor Basil Clarke.

Ramara does not provide sandbags to its residents, but Clarke encouraged those in flood-prone areas to purchase some to protect their homes.


Nathan Taylor

About the Author: Nathan Taylor

Nathan Taylor is an experienced multimedia journalist and editor who covers Orillia and other parts of Simcoe County.
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