If it seems like water is everywhere around you, it’s with good reason. Ontario is home to over 250,000 lakes and one-third of the world’s fresh water. With that in mind, it’s not hard to believe that many parts of the province are prone to flooding. In fact, it’s almost surprising that serious flooding doesn’t happen more often, especially in the Greater Toronto Area with its rivers and proximity to one of the Great Lakes. Environmental remediation companies in this region are kept busy throughout the year by many calls for flood recovery services.
With all this water in our midst, it’s important to know the signs of flooding, what to do in the event of a serious flood, and where to go for accurate flood watches and warnings. Luckily, there are a number of provincial resources to help keep Ontarians safe in times of flood. Sometimes we could all just use a little help finding those resources.
Understanding Flood Warnings
In Ontario, there are two different kinds of flood warnings: local messages and provincial messages.
Local messages come from the various conservation authorities in the province and are issued to local media and municipal authorities when flood conditions are imminent. The levels of warning in ascending order of perceived threat to public safety are Water Safety Statement, Flood Outlook Statement, Flood Watch and Flood Warning.
Provincial messages, though still serious, are higher-level, more generalized warnings about the impending likelihood of flood conditions. These messages are primarily intended to alert local authorities, rather than the general public. With that said, if you are aware of a provincial flood message pertaining to your location, be sure to heed the warning!
If you are alerted to a potential flood, visit your local conservation authority’s website for information. To find yours, search the central website. Though the media is a good source for warnings on flood conditions, it’s important to base decisions on the appropriate government recommendations for your specific location.
If There is Flooding in Your Area
If there is flooding in your area, it’s important to get the right information from a reliable, appropriate source. This does not mean your neighbour’s Facebook status updates! The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources offers general information about what to do in a flood, in addition to general emergency preparedness guidelines. Be sure to adhere to any and all warnings about flooding in your area. Know that decisions to evacuate entire swaths of such a large province are never made lightly, so if you are advised to head for higher ground it is important to do so as soon as safely possible.
Remember that all of the things in your home can be repaired or replaced after a flood, especially with the help of a professional flood recovery company. Ensuring the safety of your family should always be your first priority.
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