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Rain, snow melt could cause flooding in parts of Ontario

Kasia Bodurka, reporter
January 29, 2013 — Snow followed by heavy rain has experts warning homeowners of the potential for flooding across southern Ontario this week.

Rainfall forecast through Wednesday
Rainfall forecast through Wednesday

Typically a snow melt occurs in spring, but with the right combination of weather events it can happen in the winter season as well. 

"These systems that Ontario are dealing with this week are definitely the kind that promote flooding," says Mark Robinson, a meteorologist at The Weather network. "When you see a lot of snow on the ground, it's not melting right away, and right behind it you got a ton of rain coming in, you're going to have some serious flooding issues because everything will melt all at once. So, you're almost getting a couple of days worth of rain in one day when everything melts."

A series of moisture packed systems hitting Ontario have brought everything from snow, to freezing rain, dense fog and heavy rain. 

With this combination, rivers and stream levels may go up. Sewers can get blocked, and water damage may also occur to your home.

Sewers can become backed up, which can result in flooding of city streets
Sewers can become backed up, which can result in flooding of city streets

The good news is, there are some prevention tactics. 

"Make sure you keep an eye on your roof, maybe a couple times a year walk around, look for damaged shingles because if water does get in behind those shingles and the flashing against the walls, where the roof joins in, that can get in and cause a lot of damage," says Alex Walker, Severe Weather Specialist at RSA Insurance. "Now, I'm not advocating getting up on the roof and checking it out, that's for an expert to do, so call a roofing contractor." 

Walker also suggests making sure that your drain spouts are completely clear at the bottom and the top. 

"If you got some debris in your gutter and you got a lot of snow and ice up there you can get a situation called ice damming." 

When this happens, water can back up and leak into homes.

The Toronto and Region Conservation authority is also urging residents to avoid any rivers or streams covered by melting snow. 

"Rivers should be considered dangerous," the flood message reads. "Please exercise caution around all bodies of water, alert any children under your care of these dangers and supervise their activities." 

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