City's storm readiness plans in place as rain forecast for Toronto

With rising temperatures, rainfall and the chance of thunderstorms in the next 24 hours, the City of Toronto is advising everyone to take precautionary steps to protect their property and ensure their safety.

Environment Canada has forecasted 10 to 20 millimetres of rainfall beginning noon on Thursday until early Friday. There is also a chance of thunderstorms Thursday evening, which could bring an additional 10 to 30 millimetres of rainfall over a short period of time.

Temperatures are expected to remain above zero today until overnight Friday, resulting in additional runoff from melting snow. 

Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) has issued a Watershed Conditions Statement. A Flood Outlook will be in effect through Saturday, March 16. Many of TRCA’s rivers and streams have full ice cover. The rise in water levels from rainfall and snowmelt could result in a break-up of the ice and localized flooding as a result of ice jams. Please use caution around all bodies of water and keep children and pets away from the banks, which may be slippery and unstable.

Motorists and cyclists should be extremely cautious around areas of ponding, and be mindful near sidewalks where pedestrians are present.

Transportation Services staff are monitoring conditions on the roads and working to keep catch basins clear. Residents are asked to clear catch basins on their streets, where safe to do so, as this can result in street flooding and potentially basement flooding.

Toronto Water's storm readiness plan is in place. The City's crews are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to flooding calls. The City undertakes regular inspections, cleaning and maintenance of more than 10,000 kilometres of sewer pipes to ensure that the system operates well and has long term capital plans in place to help alleviate basement flooding.

To help prevent basement flooding, residents are encouraged to clear snow away from their home's foundation.

There are several ways that homeowners can help prevent basement flooding:

  • Clear slush and ice away from the home's foundation, channeling it to the storm sewer.
  • Ensure eavestroughs and downspouts are clear and draining away from the home.

 If there is an immediate threat of flooding:

  • Move valuables located in the basement to shelves or upper floors.
  • Store cleaners, paint or chemicals off the floor so that they do not further contaminate potential floodwater.

In the event of a flooded basement:

  • Call 311 immediately to report basement flooding. During extreme weather conditions residents should expect high call volumes and some delays. Calls will be answered by the first available agent.
  • Do not enter a flooded basement. If flooding occurs and the power is on, call Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000 to disconnect the power.
  • Contact the insurance provider to report property damage caused by flooding as soon as possible.
  • Reduce or eliminate water use (do not do laundry, wash dishes, flush the toilet, etc.), this household water could end up in the basement.
  • Be mindful of health and safety when cleaning up a flooded basement – do not stand in flood water – call a professional for assistance.

 On the road:

  • Avoid driving, especially in low-lying areas where flooding is known to occur.
  • Exercise caution when driving and avoid low lying roadways and underpasses.
  • Do not drive through deep water.
  • If traffic signals are out, treat the affected intersections as a four-way stop.

In advance of the next storm, property owners can take the following precautions:

  • Take advantage of the City's Basement Flooding Protection Subsidy Program, in which the City offers owners of single-family, duplex and triplex residential homes a subsidy of up to $3,400 per property to install flood protection devices.
  • Disconnect downspouts from the sewer system.
  • Be sure the grading around the property home drains water away from all exterior walls. 
  • Check for and fix leaks in basement walls, floors, windows and foundations.

More information about basement flooding prevention is available at http://www.toronto.ca/basementflooding.

Check Environment Canada for the latest weather details at https://weather.gc.ca/.

Follow @cityoftoronto on Twitter for the latest updates from the City.

More information about emergency preparedness and types of emergencies is available at https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/public-safety-alerts/emergency-preparedness/types-of-emergencies/.

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