The mayor of a town wresting with flood conditions in central Ontario’s cottage country says local water levels are beginning to stabilize just in time for a fresh influx of rain expected this week.
Graydon Smith, mayor of Bracebridge, Ont., says levels in the Muskoka River and Lake Muskoka have either crested or have begun to recede.
But he says the latest forecast from Environment Canada is calling for a fresh 25 to 30 millimetres of rain to fall on the town on Wednesday.
The national weather agency has issued a rainfall warning for the swath of central Ontario in which four communities have had to declare states of emergency thanks to record-high water levels caused by spring runoff and new rainfall.
Those declarations stayed in place in Bracebridge, Muskoka Lakes Township, Minden Hills and Huntsville, where officials said water levels in local lakes began dropping on Monday.
Smith says soldiers from the Canadian Armed Forces will continue arriving in the area to help with flood relief, with 60 new members expected Tuesday to join the roughly 100 personnel already on the ground.
He said the looming prospect of more heavy rain is a daunting one for a watershed system that’s already nearly at full capacity.
“It takes some time for the watershed to react,” he told reporters. “There’s a little bit of capacity now for new water introduced to it … but what (the rain) does do again is delay the extent of recovery. So we’re hoping that we don’t see as much rain as is forecast.”
In eastern Ontario, where residents in and around Ottawa area were also dealing with flood conditions, the provincial government said it was activating disaster recovery assistance for both Renfrew County and the city of Pembroke, Ont.
“On behalf of our government, I want to let those individuals who have been affected by the flooding across Eastern Ontario know that we stand with them through this recovery,” Municipal Affairs Minister Steve Clark said in a statement. “It pains me to see the damage caused to people’s homes and businesses.,”
At the opposite end of the province, the Essex Region Conservation Authority issued a flood warning for the municipality of Leamington, Ont., along with residents living along the Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair and Detroit River shorelines.
The authority said higher winds expected for Tuesday night and Wednesday morning have potential to boost water levels and cause possible flooding or erosion in those areas.