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Floods in Ontario cottage country

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KAWARTHA LAKES, Ont. — Several Ontario communities were on high alert Sunday as they worked to contain rising water levels that drowned out roads and forced dozens of residents from their homes.

The city of Kawartha Lakes and the towns of Bracebridge and Huntsville — all part of the province’s cottage country — remained under a state of emergency as they grappled with floods following heavy rain in recent days.

Huntsville was hit by flooding in 2008, Mayor Claude Doughty said. "It’s not a stranger to us in one sense, but it’s certainly unsettling especially to the people affected."

Doughty estimated 125 people from 70 homes were forced from their residences, but he expressed optimism the floodwater crested Sunday night.

"My take is that everybody that is going to be displaced has been displaced, I think we’re done," he said.

Other communities that declared emergencies included Markstay-Warren, Minden Hills, South Algonquin and Bancroft, the provincial government said.

The Ministry of Natural Resources also issued flood warnings for parts of northern Ontario, including North Bay.

It’s unclear when the water will recede and a ministry statement warned snowmelt and runoff may cause waterways to continue to swell.

Brenda Stonehouse, a spokeswoman for the City of Kawartha Lakes, said her community’s last major flood was in 1998 and this year’s water levels have already matched it.

"We’re not sure whether the water level is going to rise at this point anymore but it’s already at a significantly high level," Stonehouse said.

City officials said 14 people were put up in hotels while up to roughly three dozen others found refuge with relatives.

 

— The Canadian Press

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