Over the weekend, Kingstonians continued to grapple with the consequences of surprise flooding in several areas of the city on Saturday morning.
Environment Canada had issued a Special Weather Statement, advising of a possibility of heavy, but not unheard of, rainfall in the region. A combination of this heavy rain and fallen leaves clogging drains led to widespread flooding throughout the city.
Several vehicles were disabled when drivers attempted to cross deceptively deep pools of water on King Street near the Utilities Kingston water plant.
The area of King Street in front of the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) Emergency Department entrance, as well as KGH’s Stuart Street entrance, were also flooded. According to verified sources, there was also flooding inside the hospital.
“Kingston Health Sciences Centre experienced some flooding in a number of areas at both of our KGH and Hotel Dieu Hospital sites as a result of heavy rain early Saturday morning,” Kingston Health Sciences Centre (KHSC) said in a statement. “Thanks to the quick work of all of our teams and additional KHSC staff who came on-site to assist with cleanup, were able to minimize the impact on hospital operations and patient care.”
Some Kingstonians tried to make the best of the situation, including some residents who took to wading and attempting to surf or kayak in the floodwaters at Nelson and Brock.
Others, however, have been spending the weekend dealing with serious damage to their property.
According to Taylor Bailey-Hopkins, the basements of at least five houses in her Patrick Street neighbourhood were flooded.
Bailey-Hopkins said the flooding was exacerbated by an accumulation of leaves in neighbourhood catch basins, as well as an already notoriously slow-draining system in the area. “In general, even in quick rainstorms, the corners accumulate water that won’t drain very quickly. And it also happens in March when the snow is melting,” she explained.
“The entire basement was waist-deep in water,” said Bailey-Hopkins. “All of my downstairs neighbours’ stuff that was in the basement had to be thrown out. The furnace and dryer need replacing.”
Bailey-Hopkins said her vehicle, which had been parked on the street, may be irrepairable after being damaged in the flood. “We don’t even know if insurance is going to cover it yet, we find out tomorrow, but our estimate is it’s going to be in the thousands. The water went right past the seats and had puddles of water in it after we got it out. The electronics in it have all malfunctioned, unfortunately.”
Bailey-Hopkins said that other neighbourhood residents had about a foot of water in their basements. “Across the street… luckily their sump pump worked well, same with the people behind us. But next door to us, they had a foot or more, as well, and then two doors down she got flooded pretty bad, and I think that her furnace may need replacing, but I’m not 100 per cent sure. It’s also her fourth flood,” Bailey-Hopkins said.
Bailey-Hopkins said she was surprised at the speed with which homes were flooded. “One lady across the street said that it happened really fast, I had thought it was under an hou,r but she said she thought it was 15 minutes.”
Meanwhile, Queen’s University also suffered damages due to the flooding, and had to cancel some in-person components of classes as a result.
Parts of Humphrey Hall, where some Psychology labs are held, suffered water damage. “The rooms have been closed for this coming week as they are dried out,” said Dr. Meghan Norris, Chair of Undergraduate Studies in Psychology, in an email to affected individuals. Dr. Norris said that those labs would be moved online, with accommodations made to ensure that anyone who wished to book online time would be able to do so.
According to the City of Kingston, Kingston Fire & Rescue did not receive any calls over the weekend connected to localized flooding. Kingstonist reached out to Utilities Kingston for more information or updates on the localized flooding, but did not receive a response as of time of publication.
Rainfall measurements were highly localized and differed markedly depending on the area. In some of the heaviest-hit areas, Saturday morning brought between 60 and 80 mm of rain, including about 5 0mm which fell within a period of an hour before 9 a.m.
With files from Jessica Foley.