It has been a spring for the ages, from the over 300 cm of snow the area got this winter, to the heavy rainfall already received this spring, which has caused severe flooding conditions in the region.
In the last week, several roadways and highways have closed due to flooding or a washout, cutting off residents to various communities.
“The flooding across the region has created a difficulty for many, I’m thankful to MTO and crews working to get things up and running again,” says Kenora MP, Eric Melillo. “Obviously hoping everyone stays safe throughout this. There are multiple municipalities in the region that have declared a state of emergency as a result of this.”
The City of Kenora issued an evacuation notice on Thursday afternoon (May 12, 2022) to some areas north of the by-pass, as many rural roads have become unstable, due to overland flooding. The city also declared a local State of Emergency on Tuesday night (May 10, 2022).
In response to the increased flooding in that area, crews closed Coker Road at Kelly Road Thursday night, as the road was becoming unstable.
Melillo has taken action and is calling on the federal government to respond to the severity of the flooding situation in northwestern Ontario.
“I had the opportunity to raise these concerns at the House of Commons,” says Melillo. “I also spoke directly to the Minister of Emergency Preparedness and he’s well briefed on the situation and standing by if called upon to provide assistance.”
Like Kenora, Red Lake also declared a State of Emergency on May 10, 2022, as they have been hit hard this past week. It all started on May 7, 2022, as their community was cut off when Highway 105 at Caribou Creek was washed out. Thankfully, the Ministry of Transportation was able to repair the road and reopen the highway on Monday night (May 9, 2022).
The purpose of calling a state of emergency is to create awareness for the public and federal and provincial governments. In addition, this declaration may provide funding recovery opportunities for costs incurred by the Municipality as a result of any damage caused by these events
Not even 12 hours later the highway was shut down again 20 kilometres south of Red Lake, which eventually was repaired and reopened.
Pickle Lake residents were cut off for a short period of time, when Highway 599 was closed on Wednesday (May 11, 2022), due to a washout. It was later reopened a day later.
The Lake of the Woods Control Board is forecasting the level of the Lake of the Woods is expected to rise by 22 to 30 cm (9-12 in) over the next week, which could exceed levels seen in 2014 (323.78 m). The average lake level rose by 25 cm (10 in) over the past week. The inflow to Lake of the Woods is more than double the maximum outflow that is being released through the fully opened dams in Kenora.
To assist residents in the area the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources, and Forestry has provided sandbag distribution centres in Kenora and Dryden for unorganized residents. As, well the City of Kenora has offered sandbags for its residents at the Kenora Fire Hall, Station 1. Last week, flood warnings were issued for the Dryden and Red Lake areas
As of May 13, 2022, the area has already been hit with over 86 millimetres of rain in the month, which has exceeded the 80.8 mm average.