Flooding concerns have escalated on the Toronto Islands

Flooding concerns have escalated on the Toronto Islands.

Sandbagging efforts on the north shore of the island were breached around 5 o'clock this afternoon, due to a combination of gusty winds from the northwest and high waves.

The City of Toronto's chief communications officer, Brad Ross, spoke with our media partner CP24.

"The inner harbour starts to slosh around," says Ross, "think of it like a bathtub, really, and those waves build up and they hit each other and it just overwhelmed the sandbagging efforts and parts of the north shore, which caused the water from the lake - because it's so high - to surge onto the land."

"There are some homes that are surrounded by - it could be anywhere between 5 to 20 centimetres of water, depending on where the home is."

Some areas further west on the island are dealing with at least 30-40 cm of water.

The far eastern section of Ward's Island remains relatively dry.

"Residents who live on the island, who took precautions around their own property - to sandbag and to pump - are probably okay," says Ross. 

He adds, "Some other homes - the crawl spaces may be wet, may have water in them. There are no basements on the island, of course, and some may have water up to their doors, but overall it's something that's going to take at least 72 hours to clean up."

Pumps have been put in place to get the water out. 

Tomorrow the city will be sandbagging areas that were breached. That could take a couple days.

The city says the island remains open, but they will be restricting non-essential vehicles like delivery trucks and contractors that would normally come over on the ferry. They will be prohibited for the next 72 hours.

Ferry service will continue operating, so the public is welcome to come to the island. 

Centreville and other attractions will also remain open to the public. Most parks are accessible, but some areas are wet.

The city maintains there is no danger to the public and there's no need for an evacuation.

But there is some concern about the weather for the upcoming weekend.

"This Saturday we're expecting a weather event and rain and possible thunderstorms. Depending on the direction of that storm, it may impact our efforts to mitigate flooding - again with high winds and the wave action."

"We work very closely with our partners at the TRCA who have expertise in all of this and help give us advice on where to place sandbags, where to place pumps, where vulnerable areas on the island are with respect to low lying areas."