Left after Monday’s downpour: Flooded basements, wrecked property and roads caked in muck.
By: Alex Ballingall News, Published on Tue Aug 05 2014
Roger Harvey stood in his devastated basement, with the dark muck that had splattered on everything caked to his rubber boots, and scanned the damage wrought by Monday night’s flooding in Burlington.
“What are you gonna do?” he asked Tuesday, rolling his shoulders. “Just waiting to hear from the insurance company, then we’ll get this cleaned up.”
Harvey, 54, has lived in the house on Elwood Rd. since he was a little boy, when he helped his father renovate the wood-panelled rec room in the basement. That room is now a complete mess, after the basement filled to the rafters with water and the ceiling collapsed, leaving stray tiles scattered across the mud-soaked floor.
Harvey is left with a waterlogged pool table, a ruined washer and dryer and an oil tank that floated across the room. Some antique tools were also damaged, he said.
“All the window wells were flowing in like a river . . . until it filled to the roof.”
Environment Canada said 125 mm of rain fell in the suburban community west of Toronto in a matter of hours on Monday evening. That’s the amount normally expected to fall there in two months, according to the Weather Network.
The onslaught of water backed up storm drains, caused mudslides and creeks to overflow and left deep pools of water in backyards, basements and low points in the city. Major thoroughfares like Hwy. 407 and Walker’s Line were partially closed and the city set up evacuation centres for affected residents.
“I believe it’s the worst flooding we’ve seen in Burlington in the last 20 years,” Rick Goldring, the Mayor of Burlington, told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.
Goldring said his own street “looked like a war zone” after the storm. The city received 2,200 calls to the municipal 311 service and an estimated 500 basements had been flooded, he added.
What the water did to the streets might have been even more startling, as countless roads — even the QEW, Highway 403 and Highway 407 — were washed out on Monday night.
“There were reports of water above the vehicles and at the roofs and people were swimming from their cars,” said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, of the highway safety division. “It was incredible; there was a lot of water there.”
Although the damage is extensive, Goldring doesn’t believe it will rival that of last December’s ice storm, when cleanup costs hit $1.8 million and the city applied for provincial disaster relief funding.
“I believe we’ve done the best we can in addressing what needs to be done so far,” he said.
Though the water had largely subsided by Tuesday afternoon, evidence of the flood was still remained. Asphalt on the roads in the affected areas was caked in brown silt and sludge, while people were hosing down the sidewalks in front of their homes and pumping water out of their flooded basements.
A stretch of Guelph Line north of Dundas St. remained closed Tuesday as Halton Region road crews worked to fill in ditches that had been eroded by rushing water Monday night.
Back on Elwood Rd., Harvey and his neighbours were trying to take stock of what happened on their leafy street south of the Queen Elizabeth Way.
Glenn Nicholson’s home backs onto Tuck Creek, which overflowed Monday night and sent a rushing tide of water up into his backyard, around his home and into the street. A tangle of uprooted shrubs and pieces of wood had been pushed against his fence by the water, which also flooded his basement and left a thick layer of brown gunk all over the lawn.
“It got a little scary when I was wading through the water because it was moving so fast,” said Nicholson.
A few houses down, John Palowich sat in a plastic chair next to the home his son Mark bought recently with his wife and two daughters. The expansive backyard was still submerged in a murky brown pond of still water, while neighbours with push brooms helped clean the wet silt from the driveway.
“It’s horrendous,” Palowich said as he pointed to a bottom garage door panel that had been punched out by the rushing water. He said his son managed to save some guitars and personal items from the basement, but that the home was heavily damaged.
“You always think something like this will happen to someone else,” Palowich said. “When it happens to you it’s a different story.”
With files from Sean Wetselaar and Kim Brown
SLC Environmental would like to inform our friends and neighbours of the concerns with the recent flooding. It is extremely important if you have been affected by the recent flooding to mitigate your basement, house, office immediately. It is highly recommended that you call your Insurance company so that they can send out a qualified Restoration Contractor to clean up and dry out the damages. With high humidity levels and moisture content in building finishes, with time can result in mould growth. Due to the high volume of claims within Burlington, it should expected for there to be a delay in the entire process; from the Restoration contractor drying out your building, dealing with contents and to rebuilding and putting back building finishes. When there is a storm like we had on Monday, thousands of homes are affected at the same time, which puts a strain on the labour and resources responding to the cleanup.