The City of Kenora is asking some residents to vacate their homes immediately due to overland flooding in the city.
Thursday night, the City of Kenora issued an evacuation warning to residents asking them to voluntarily leave their homes.
As of Friday, the situation has changed, with recent rainfall exacerbating an already-precarious flooding situation.
“The City of Kenora is upgrading the recommended evacuation notice to an Evacuation Order for residents north of the bypass for all roads north of the Portier bridge,” reads a release from the City of Kenora.
A corridor for safe passage out of the area is being set up and operated by city crews between 2:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Friday. After 6:30 p.m., the roads will be closed and there won’t be a point of entry or exit from the area.
An Emergency Operations Centre has also been established at the Kenora Recreation Centre, where residents in need of shelter can stay.
Map of areas in Kenora affected by overland flooding. (City of Kenora)According to data collected by the Lake of the Woods Control Board, the Lake of the Woods and Winnipeg River systems have more water in them right now than in 95 per cent of the years that levels have been tracked.
The influx of water is causing overland flooding in Kenora’s north end and Black Sturgeon Lake areas.
As of Thursday night, two roads in Kenora – East Mellick Road and Hooterville Trail – were experiencing water levels at a depth of 20 inches. Other affected roads had depth levels between 10 and 15 inches.
Water levels are expected to rise on East Mellick road to the point of becoming “unstable,” according to the Evacuation order, adding residents living south of the Portier bridge should be prepared to evacuate.
About seven roads are being affected by overland flooding, said City of Kenora Fire Chief Kent Readman, adding city crews are still gathering up-to-date water levels on the roads.
“There’s becoming so much water over top of them that there is concern that there may be damaged caused at this point,” said Readman, “With so much water on top it’s hard to measure what’s going on underneath.”
While residents are being urged to evacuate immediately, folks can choose to shelter in place, said Readman.
“We’re not coming to take anyone out of their homes by any means,” he said. “But they should be cognizant that limited emergency services, or no services, will be available.”
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