Lake Ontario's water creeps closer to 2017 extreme flooding levels

May 21 2019, 1:23 pm

Toronto remains under a shoreline hazard warning as water levels are expected to continue rising in the coming weeks.

While levels are rising less rapidly, they continue to get dangerously close to those last seen in 2017, when the islands experienced devastating flooding for months.

“Whether or not the 2017 levels will be exceeded this year, will depend on precipitation in the coming weeks,” said the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in the warning.

“Once peaked, water levels in Lake Ontario will then take several weeks to recede back down to normal levels.”

According to the conservation authority, Lake Ontario’s water level is currently 75.74 metres above sea level. For comparison, the water level reached a peak of 75.93 metres in 2017.

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With levels expected to rise until late May or mid-June, the threat of shortened beaches, erosion, trail/boardwalk closures, and localized ponding and flooding continue.

As of Thursday, these conditions have been observed at Budapest Park and Sunnyside Beach, Marilyn Bell Park, HTO Park, Harbour Square Park, Sugar Beach, Gibraltar Point on Toronto Islands, Woodbine Beach, Ashbridge’s Bay Park, and Kew and Balmy Beaches.

A notice of caution has already been specifically issued for the Scarborough Bluffs due to the threat of potential landslides.

Additionally, the Toronto Islands, which experienced flooding and erosion in the spring of 2017, may also begin to experience major impacts as the water level in Lake Ontario continues to rise.

Ainsley SmithAinsley Smith

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