Flooding Update - May 19
The City is actively monitoring:
- Flood forecast data for local lakes and tributaries through the local conservation authority.
- Provincial flood forecasting data for Lake Ontario.
According to the International Lake Ontario – St. Lawrence River Board, in a report issued on May 16, "Lake Ontario continues to rise and [there is] a 50 per cent chance that within two weeks levels will reach or exceed the highs of 2017." Given current conditions and weather forecasts, the lake is expected to peak at approximately 75.9 m in early June, but higher water levels are possible under wetter conditions.
- On May 8, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) issued a flood warning for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, forecasting higher than normal water levels with a chance of flooding toward the end of May.
- On May 13, the CRCA issued a flood watch statement for specific local inland lakes in South Frontenac, Gananoque and Colonel By Lake in Kingston.
The City is not anticipating widespread flooding, however residents living in low-lying, flood-prone areas should take measures to protect their property. If you find yourself in a potential flood situation and require sand or sandbags, call 613-546-0000. The City has sand and sandbags available for pick-up at 875 Innovation Dr. When you call, you will be asked when you plan to pick up the sand or sandbags. Please note: when picking up sand/sandbags you will be asked to present proof of residency. I.E. a piece of mail with your name and address.
Weather forecasts and flood forecasting data will continue to be monitored closely and public works staff is inspecting flood-prone areas regularly and prior to forecasted rain events.
For the most up-to-date information regarding road closures, impacts to City services, follow the City of Kingston on Twitter. In the case of an emergency, call 9-1-1.
The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) is responsible for monitoring and issuing updates on water levels in the Kingston area. If you are looking for updates, please visit their website and scroll down to find the "Current Flood Status" and associated information. For up-to-date flood information on the Lake Ontario Flood Watch updates visit: www.Ontario.ca/flooding
The Flood handout provides information to help you stay up-to-date on efforts to deal with high water levels and help you respond in the event of flooding in your home or neighbourhood.
In the event of a flash flood
- Move pets, furniture, appliances and other belongings to higher ground.
- Make sure basement windows are closed.
- Seek higher ground if you see rapidly rising water.
- Never drive your vehicle through standing water. Do not cross flowing water. (See instructions for how to exit a vehicle in a flooded area.)
How to respond
If a flood should occur, are you ready to respond? The City's Office of Emergency Management provides guidance on how to prepare, respond and recover from a flooding event.
Before a flood
To reduce the likelihood of flood damage
- Put weather protection sealant around basement windows and the base of ground-level doors.
- Install the drainage for downspouts a sufficient distance from your residence to ensure that water moves away from the building.
- Consider installing a sump pump and zero reverse flow valves in basement floor drains.
- Do not store your important documents in the basement. Keep them at a higher level, protected from flood damage.
- Install Preventative Plumbing with Financial Assistance from Utilities Kingston: Even if you've never had a problem, you could qualify for up to $3,000 to install preventative plumbing to protect your property from basement flooding and sewer back-ups. Review Utilities Kingston's page to learn more and apply today.
If a flood is forecasted
- Turn off basement furnaces and the outside gas valve.
- Take special precautions to safeguard electrical, natural gas or propane heating equipment.
- If there is enough time, consult your electricity or fuel supplier for instructions on how to proceed.
If flooding is imminent
- Move furniture, electrical appliances and other belongings to floors above ground level.
- Remove toxic substances such as pesticides and insecticides from the flood area to prevent pollution.
- Remove toilet bowls and plug basement sewer drains and toilet connections with a wooden stopper if possible.
- Disconnect eaves troughs if they are connected to the house sewer.
- In some cases, homes may be protected with sandbags or polyethylene barriers.
- Do NOT attempt to shut off electricity if any water is present. Water and live electrical wires can be lethal. Leave your home if it's safe to do so, and if possible go to a friend or family member's home that is not impacted.
Try to avoid driving on flooded roads
Avoid driving on flooded roads as excessive water may prevent your brakes from working. If you must drive through a flooded stretch of road, Ontario's Ministry of Transportation recommends that you test your brakes in advance when it is safe to do so by stopping quickly and firmly at 50 km/h. Make sure the vehicle stops in a straight line, without pulling to one side. The brake pedal should feel firm and secure. If you still feel a pulling to one side or a spongy brake pedal even after the brakes are dry, you should take the vehicle in for repair immediately.
During a flood
- For the latest updates, follow the City on Twitter. Keep your radio on to find out what areas are affected, what roads are safe, where to go and what to do if the local emergency team asks you to leave your home.
- Keep your emergency kit close at hand. Learn what items to put in your emergency kit, on our Emergency Management page.
- Entering a flooded basement could be hazardous! When in doubt, don't enter the flooded area until you are told it is safe by a qualified professional. Utilities Kingston offers instruction on what to do if your basement has flooded. Report your flood or backup using this online reporting form or by calling Utilities Kingston at 613-546-0000.
If you need to evacuate
- Vacate your home when you are advised to do so by a person of authority. Ignoring such a warning could jeopardize the safety of you and your family.
- Take your emergency kit with you.
- Make arrangements for pets.
- Time permitting, leave a note informing others when you left and where you went. If you have a mailbox, leave the note there.
Never cross a flooded area
- If you are on foot, fast water could sweep you away.
- If you are in a car, do not drive through flood waters or underpasses. The water may be deeper than it looks and your car could get stuck or swept away by fast water.
After a flood
Keep a close eye on youth and pets
During a flood clean up, supervise children and pets and keep them out of the area until clean-up has been completed. Remember to always keep children within arm's reach when around water.
- Replace sand in sandboxes and clean any play structures that may have been contaminated.
- Till garden beds. Do not consume any produce from vegetable gardens impacted by flood water. After re-establishing garden beds, remember to always wash produce before consumption.
- Properly clean-up any areas where fluids may have leaked from vehicles such as cars, boats, ATVs, etc.
- Standing water can pose various health risks (e.g., pails, old tires, or other containers with water can become places where mosquitoes breed) and should be removed.
Large debris, construction materials and demolition waste that are too heavy or too large to be packaged with household trash will not be collected in regular garbage. These items can be taken to any of the following waste transfer locations. Note: a fee for disposal is typically charged based on weight.
- Progressive Waste Solutions, 1266 McAdoos Lane, 613-548-4428;
- Kimco Steel Sales Limited, 1325 John Counter Boulevard, 613-542-1822;
- Waste Management Canada, 62 St. Remy Place, 613-549-7401 extension 252;
- Westendorp Disposal, 1709 Westbrook Road, 613-384-8555.
Items that are recyclable can be placed in grey or blue boxes with other household recyclables for curbside pickup. More information on blue boxes, grey boxes, household hazardous waste, the Kingston and Area Recycling Centre; electronic waste; tires; and scrap metal can be found on the City's recycling page.
City staff will also monitor resident reports and make site-specific assessments if necessary.
The City's Office of Emergency Management asks you to consider the questions and answers outlined below, regarding flooding.
Are you prepared for an emergency situation?
All resident should have a home emergency kit that has everything you need for 72 hours. Learn more by visiting the City's Emergency Management page.
Will flooding impact public transit?
Kingston Transit riders can find the latest updates about impacts flooding may have on the service alerts page.
Is your basement flooded?
Entering a flooded basement could be hazardous! When in doubt, don't enter the flooded area until you are told it is safe by a qualified professional. Utilities Kingston offers instructions on what to do if your basement has flooded. Report your flood or backup using this online reporting form or by calling Utilities Kingston at 613-546-0000.
What health risks can flooding pose to me?
KFL&A Public Health provides resources on how to prepare and respond to a flooding event, as well as possible impacts flooding can have on our health. Learn more on their Floods page. Please also review the next section, about electrical dangers flooding can cause.
Electrical dangers flooding can cause
There is a heightened risk of electric shock when water makes contact with electrical systems that could seriously injure or kill you. Follow these electrical safety steps; it could save your life, or the lives of first responders and utility personnel working in the area. For more information on how to stay safe, closely review the flood safety information provided by the Electrical Safety Authority.
Are you up on your #floodfacts?
Any basement is at risk of flooding, even if it's never happened before. Review the Utilities Kingston Flood Facts to find out how you can help protect your property.