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'This fall has not been kind to us': Sault deals with rainfall, flooding aftermath (3 photos)

Emergency crews on the ground since last night's torrential downpour began

Emergency crews have been working around the clock to repair damages across Sault Ste. Marie since Wednesday night’s torrential rainfall.

City of Sault Ste. Marie public works director Susan Hamilton Beach says that flooding-related road closures at Case Road, Connor Road, St. George’s Avenue, Riverside Drive and the Wellington Street underpass kept city workers busy overnight.

“It was pretty much continual, we had crews on all night,” she said. “The last 24 hours at least, we had our day crews, we kept night crews.”

“We’ve been going around the clock.”

Case Road was closed off to area homeowners as of Thursday morning due to a “significant culvert repair,” while Connor Road has been reopened as of early Thursday afternoon.

The city’s public works department says that most roadways in the city were not damaged by the rain.

“We’re obviously doing the full inspection today, but I think the roadways in general held quite well,” Hamilton Beach said. “There may be debris and materials that have obviously got caught with the flow, but other than that, we’ll have sweepers out, I’m sure, over the course of the rest of this week and try to clean things up.”

Hamilton Beach says the city has had its emergency crews attend a number of sites over the past 24 hours that are known as flooding hotspots.

“We’re sending them down ravines to grates that we know throughout the community may typically get blocked with larger trees and branches that get swept through all of our creeks and ravines during a storm of that magnitude,” Hamilton Beach said.

Meanwhile, some homeowners around the Sault are left to deal with the aftermath of localized flooding.

Frank Pino, a homeowner on the city’s west end, was spotted in the driveway of his Johnson Avenue home speaking with a WINMAR crew member early Thursday afternoon.

Pino says that last night’s rainfall left about three-and-a-half inches of water in his basement, noting that this marks just the second time he’s had to deal with flooding since acquiring the property in 1963.

“That’s the second time now - five or six years ago, the same thing,” Pino told SooToday, as a network of industrial-sized fans hummed in his basement. “And before that, I’ve never seen this.”

The WINMAR employee mentioned to SooToday that the restoration company was in the process of responding to about 40 claims Thursday since last night’s rainfall.

ServiceMaster Restore of Sault Ste. Marie told SooToday that the company has been busy all last night and into this morning as estimators and emergency crews travel “all over the city” in order to assess the damage.

ServiceMaster says that approximately 50 claims have come across its desk since the rainfall began yesterday, bringing its total number of claims well over a hundred since last week's windstorm. 

Back at the city's public works department Hamilton Beach says that city workers have had a particularly long autumn, between dealing with last night’s flooding and last week’s windstorm.

“This fall has not been kind to us,” she said. “We’ve already had two significant wind storms and now this, so our work is not done.”

According to Environment Canada, a 60 to 70 per cent chance of rain is in effect for much of Thursday night into Friday morning, with wind gusts of up to 50 kilometres an hour.


James Hopkin

About the Author: James Hopkin

James Hopkin is a reporter for SooToday based in Sault Ste. Marie
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