Cottage country almost floated away in Spring flooding. The streets of Calgary filled to over-saturation from huge amounts of rainfall. Trains underwater in Toronto with desperate passengers evacuated via inflatable boats, due to a massive deluge in the span of a few hours. Farmers desperately praying for a break in the rains, so that sensitive crops are not ruined by the incessant moisture that has inundated Ontario.

Toronto Flooding July 2013

Torrential downpours leave passengers stranded on a Toronto Go Train

We need water to survive, but when it comes in such monstrous quantities another issue arises, that of safety to people and our possessions. In Toronto, 126 mm of water fell in a matter of hours on July 8th, 2013. The flooding that devastated Calgary in June 2013 saw houses, bridges and more swept away due to rain and rising rivers fueled by winter melt off from the nearby Rocky Mountains. Many communities in Central Ontario also felt the ravages from spring runoff, as the worst flooding in approximately 100 years swept through Cottage Country. No lives were lost in Toronto, but the same cannot be said of the flooding that overwhelmed Calgary. Damages to infrastructure have been extensive in all these communities though, and that equates to huge cleanup bills and massive rebuilding.

Local fields struggling to overcome this month’s extensive rains

But what of our area farmers with their eyes to the skies? It would seem that those that bought crop insurance this year were wise folks indeed. Rainfall here and there is necessary, but we have had far more than our local average of 82 mm. High heat and humidity, mixed with rain, rain and more rain have made crop failure a very drastic reality for farmers staring at their waterlogged fields. When the water table gets saturated, the rain has no place to go, therefore sits on the ground. That leads to issues like Sclerotinia, or stem rot, for plants such as canola, wheat, and soybeans. Other crops like tomatoes, corn and sugar beets are also affected by the wide-spread moisture, literally starving to death from lack of oxygen in the water-saturated soil. At the end of the day, we are all faced with decreased food availability and increased prices for what little we have.

More rain in the forecast

The bad news is that it is not over yet. There is even more rain in the forecast, meaning that already drenched areas that are suffering through high heat and humidity won’t be drying out any time soon. Authorities in Toronto will be watching their stormwater systems to ensure they are functioning as best they can. Resident farmers will be praying for sunshine to come quick to dry out their soggy fields. And if you are worried about flooding in your own backyard, why not make sure your eavestroughs are empty, your sump pump is in working order, and there are no blockages at the sewer on your street. Other issues you might want to address before the rains come again are cracks in your foundation, a lot that is graded towards the house instead of away (if the land on your lot slopes towards the house, rainwater will head in that direction potentially overloading your drainage system) and the effectiveness of your weeping tiles. No one likes a wet basement (think mold, respiratory illnesses and loss of valuables). If Mother Nature won’t give us a break in the rain, then at the very least, make sure that you are protected against what she is throwing at us.

Don’t forget your umbrellas!

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