(Main picture, a cottage in Bracebridge on Friday)
A dozen municipal governments in Quebec and at least four in Ontario have declared states of emergency as the spring melt and a very wet April combine to push rivers, lakes and streams over their banks. Parts of New Brunswick and southern Manitoba are also affected by flooding.
In cottage country, heavy rains that continued last night are anticipated to exceed records set during a major flood in 2013.
Rainfall warnings were issued Friday for a band of central Ontario cottage country, including Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville, Baysville, Port Carling, Port Severn and the town of Parry Sound.
Some regions could see as much as 50 millimetres of rainfall before the wet weather tapers off in the evening.
Fairy Lake and Mary Lake, which drain into the river that runs through Bracebridge, is at capacity, according to the city’s mayor, and heavy rainfall continues to strain the system.
Snow and ice are still present in some areas near waterways, further stressing the system. Debris, also present in much of the flood water is causing further problems and causing choke points in the river.
Officials went door-to-door in some neighbourhoods of Bracebridge on Wednesday and urged residents to evacuate. In badly flooded areas, such as Springdale Shores and Cedar Shores, power has been cut off to some homes.
Crews also spent much of Thursday filling more than 3,500 sandbags. While many homeowners are doing what they can to protect their properties, seasonal residents are being advised against checking on their cottages over the weekend during this dangerous time.
In eastern Ontario, rising water levels on the Ottawa River could reach records last seen during floods in 2017. A state of emergency is in effect for those living along the Ottawa River and other waterways.
A rainfall warning for Ottawa North – Kanata – Orleans was also issued Friday ahead of similarly heavy precipitation that could wreak havoc on already-flooded low-lying areas.
About 400 Canadian Armed Forces members have descended on hard-hit areas of Ottawa to help residents with sandbagging.
Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have all asked the federal government for assistance.
On Friday morning, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said aid is coming for the provinces and has pointed to climate change as a factor in the widespread floods, calling the events “expensive lessons” for the country.
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