The clean up in Burlington continues after an unprecedented storm hit the city right around this time last night. The rain was relentless — and left a big section of the city under water and at a standstill. All day today, city crews and residents have been assessing the damage.
One forecaster called it a weather “bomb” that hit Burlington last night. In the aftermath, parts of the city look for all the world like disaster zones.
This was the scene throughout areas of Burlington in the wake of the record rainfall — crews tossing out mud and water-soaked possessions.
Jane: “That was deepest, it was up to here.”
Homeowners inspecting the damage from shoulder-high water in their basements.
It was the result of more than two hours of thunderstorms that hit on Monday night — shutting down the QEW, trapping cars, and swamping neighbourhoods with rainfall estimated at 150 millimetres or more.
Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring: “We had about two months of rainfall within about a three or four hour period.”
Mayor Rick Goldring says the number of homes flooded could range from 500 to a thousand.
Homeowners Jim and Jane Ridley: “It seemed to be coming up and coming in. And then we had it coming in from the roof as well.”
Homes like Jim and Jane Ridley’s in the Fairview/Appleby area, who were trying to save their possessions as the basement water got higher and higher.
Jim and Jane: “We tried to save the big things didn’t we. We need a new furnace, we need a new water heater, washer and dryer. And then on top of that, you’ve got floor drywall. I can’t even think — it’s overwhelming.”
Down the street is homeowner Neil Osborne: “It started to come out of the drains on the floor and then it kind of built up from there and filled our basement.”
Restoration workers are scrambling.
John Markun, Winmar Property Restoration: “Right now we’re sitting at well over a hundred residences that have been impacted by the water, as well as commercial properties.”
That’s just one of about 20 restoration companies.
Nearby, in the New Street/Walkers Line area, homeowner Glenn Nicholson had similar problems: “Water was coming around both sides of the house. I came into the backyard, it was four foot deep. The basement was flooded and the whole backyard was a lake.”
In this area, Tuck Creek overflowed its banks under the flooding onslaught — possibly because of trees knocked down by the storm blocking the creek — sending two feet of water across yards and roads and into houses.
Andy Dylag, homeowner: “It was about knee deep. Cars were getting stuck here. Water was rushing through this whole portion of the bridge. It was a disaster.”
And roads like Guelph Line north of Dundas needed repairs after the storm wore away the roadbed.
In the wake of the disaster, the city says it’s going to be some time before there’s any firm figure on how much damage the storm left behind.
There’s one small lesson that we can learn for this Burlington experience. It’s the importance of knowing where you’re valuables are. Now Jim and Jane Ridley had things in the basement that they were looking for when the floods hit. But the water was coming up so fast, they couldn’t actually locate them. And in the end, they don’t really know what they lost in the flood.
For the latest now on the situation in Burlington, the city’s mayor Rick Goldring joins us and answered these questions from anchor Nick Dixon.
1– Do you know tonight how many homes and businesses were impacted by the flooding? Closer to 1,000 than 500 homes. A lot of families have not dialed Halton Region at 311 yet to report damage.
2– What is the city doing to help residents affected by the flooding? City wants to know about where the extreme events have been occurring like sanitary backup so that we can deploy the programs that are in place to help residents. Plus the city need to know the impact on the ground water from the flooding of peoples basements.
3– You saw the number of roads that were flooded and impassable last night — what does it tell you about the state of the infrastructure in Burlington — and what can you now do about it?? I think we have to be careful not to judge the infrastructure after a one-in-200 year event. Reports will be tabled to city council in the fall to see how some of these events can be addressed for the future.
4– Is there any reason for the city to be going to province at this point for any funding — or help for homeowners??? In order to get provincial help, I don’t know if the city will qualify
5– Your impressions of the city’s response to the situation last night??? I was very impressed by the city services, the region of Halton and the positive spirit of neighbours helping each other out. Some people in the community have been hit more than once this year.
Additional video: News Now coverage of Goldring’s midday news conference: