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Rainfall 'deluge' triggers flooding, road closures

Rainfall 'deluge' triggers flooding, road closures  Windsor Star
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Author of the article:

Doug Schmidt
"Deluge." Windsor and Essex County remain under a special rainfall alert until Saturday. Here, Ethan Brett, 15, rides his bike through a flooded portion of Little River Blvd. in Tecumseh as heavy rain on Friday, July 16, 2021. Flooding has forced the closure of a number of stretches of local streets. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star
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With widespread reports of flooding and roads being under water, the city on Friday was urging residents to stay off streets and to report instances of basement flooding.

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“This is a significant rainfall that is causing issues for homes and on roadways,” city engineer Mark Winterton said in a statement. Authorities described the heavy rainfall as a “deluge” which triggered road closures, including a stretch of usually busy Walker Road at the Grand Marais railroad underpass.

“We know contacting 311 might not be top priority for homeowners right at the moment, but by using the app at their convenience we’ll be taking the numbers and locations of those flooded,” said Winterton. “And we’ll add that information to our growing database to help plan for a future where flooding becomes less and less of an issue.”

Ahead of the downpour that began Friday morning, Environment Canada issued a special weather statement and a rainfall warning for Windsor and Essex County. The former ended late Friday afternoon while the former was to remain in effect through Saturday morning. The federal agency pegged area precipitation accumulation at between 40 and 50 millimetres, with some localized spots forecast to get up to 75 mm of rainfall.

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Vehicles struggle to get past a flooded portion of Elliott St. East in Windsor on Friday as heavy rainfall saturated the region.
Vehicles struggle to get past a flooded portion of Elliott St. East in Windsor on Friday as heavy rainfall saturated the region. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

ERCA issued its own flood watch, forecasting the heavy rainfall would affect areas with existing wet ground conditions due to recent precipitation. In conjunction with elevated lake levels, it warned of potential flooding along waterways and shorelines and in low-lying areas. The ERCA advisory is in effect until Saturday at noon.

According to the city, some streets were flooded and should be avoided if possible. It said city public works crews were out and dealing with areas of concern, but motorists were being urged to stay off roadways until the rain subsides.

Ward 3 Coun. Rino Bortolin posted on social media Friday afternoon that the heavier-than-anticipated rainfall was “causing problems across the community, but the downtown area has been particularly hard hit. Please report all issues to 311.”

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Windsor Regional Hospital experienced flooding at both main campuses. The heavy rainfall forced the closure of its cardiac catheterization lab at the Ouellette campus, which won’t reopen until at least later on Monday.

“Any emergency patients who would normally receive treatment at the cath lab will need to be diverted to other hospitals outside of our region,” hospital spokesman Steve Erwin said in a statement. Patients scheduled for non-emergent cath lab procedures on Friday or through the weekend were to be notified by the hospital.

  1. A motorist ploughs through a flooded section of Howard Avenue near Tecumseh Road East on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020. Streets flooded as Windsor sets new rainfall record
  2. Barb Branton is shown in her south Windsor basement on Wednesday, September 16, 2020.  She lives on Mount Royal Drive where several homeowners in the area suffered major flood damage in late August. Francis seeks answers after cluster of South Windsor basements flood
  3. A protective row of sandbags is shown guarding an East Riverside home from high water levels shown Tuesday, April 7, 2020. Mayor lobbies Ottawa for quick approval of anti-flood funding

Windsor has experienced a number of major rain events in recent years that have caused large numbers of reported residential basements flooding. The city is spending millions annually on long-term flood mitigation efforts, and it has been offering help to homeowners through its basement flooding protection subsidy program.

To find out more about that, and for information on safeguarding your home, visit the City of Windsor website.

dschmidt@postmedia.com

twitter.com/schmidtcity

A woman tries to stay dry under a large umbrella while crossing Wyandotte St. East in Windsor in heavy rain on Friday.
A woman tries to stay dry under a large umbrella while crossing Wyandotte St. East in Windsor in heavy rain on Friday. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star
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