Flooding continues in Fort Frances as heavy rains expected in Northwestern Ontario

Municipal officials in Fort Frances continue to work to deal with flooding in the Northwestern Ontario community.

Since Monday, Fort Frances has closed sections of Front Street, as well as walking and biking trails along the street. Also closed are Front Street playground and fitness facilities, Sorting Gap Marina gas docks and boat launch, Watchtower, Hallett, Avenue Pier Crowe, Point Park and Seven Oaks.

“The rains of [Sunday] night and [Monday] morning raised the water levels a bit,” said Patrick Brière, the city’s emergency management specialist. “We’ve had surface flooding issues now.

Water levels in Rainy Lake have already exceeded those of eight years ago, when flooding caused major damage to the town.

“It’s new ground for us,” Briere said. “We are above the 2014 water level.”

“We have puddles in many parts of the city, and we’re just working with our control group and all of our stakeholders to put in place plans to mitigate and protect assets and infrastructure.”

Sandbag operations continued on Monday and volunteers were being sought to help, the city said in a news release.

Briere said sandbags were placed along low areas of Front Street and Point Park, and the city was working with residents of certain areas of Fort Frances to help protect their property.

Some localized failures in the Fort Frances storm sewer system have been reported due to water levels, and there has been some erosion and damage to docks along the waterfront.

Weather advisories throughout the region

By late Monday afternoon, Environment Canada had issued a tornado watch for Fort Frances, Emo, Rainy River, Atikokan, Ignace, English River, Seine River Village and Mine Centre.

Rainfall warnings are also in effect for the Fort Frances and Rainy Lake areas, as well as Kenora, Dryden, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, Sandy Lake and Pikangikum. Severe thunderstorm watches are also in effect for the Kenora, Dryden and Vermillion Bay areas.

The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry also issued flood watches for the District of Thunder Bay Monday afternoon.

Monitoring covers the upper watersheds of the Kaminstiquia River, Seine River and Lac des Mille Lacs, and people are advised to exercise caution around roads, bridges, water crossings, lakes and less frequented rivers.

The flood watch is expected to remain in effect until Friday.

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