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A resident canoes along a flooded New Hamburg street after a weather event. (Photo: Deb McCue Wideman) (Jan. 12, 2020)

Heavy rainfall has created numerous flooding situations in communities along the Grand River Watershed.

A weather system that moved across Southern Ontario on Saturday brought record levels of January rain.

The Grand River Conservation Authority issued a flood warning for the entire watershed. They say up to 100mm of rainfall fell on communities before temperatures dropped back below freezing.

River flows are receding in areas along the northern central portions of the watershed, according to the GRCA.

The authority adds river flows south of Cambridge will continue to increase, cause significant flooding in some areas, and recede early next week. Flood Coordinators are being asked to maintain closures of Black Bridge Road and Highway 24 south of Concession Street.

In New Hamburg, the Nith River peaked on Sunday morning in Flood Warning Zone 3.

For many flood plain residents of the Wilmot Township town, canoe is the best way to get around.

“With this much water it’s nice to have a mode of transportation,” said New Hamburg resident Agnes Wagner. “In the flood of 2018 my canoe was used to evacuate people and to help out around the neighbourhood.”

Spot the difference: Asmus street in New Hamburg on Sunday afternoon vs Monday afternoon. Water levels continue to recede and now residents are dealing with the aftermath. @CTVKitchener pic.twitter.com/6U49pPtzdi

— Zayn Jinah (@CTVZayn) January 13, 2020

Wilmot Township fire chief Rod Leeson says the flooding would have been more severe if there was ice in the water.

“It’s a lot more water than I think they community expected and even the GRCA was surprised when they did their modelling,” he said. “We deployed firefighters door to door throughout the community to warn everyone that we were going to have this Zone 3 flood.”

Wagner says her and her neighbours know what to do when a flood comes by, like to put Plexiglas over the basement windows and to keep valuables above ground.

She adds that it’s the fourth flood she’s had to wade through, but that times like these bring her community together and make it a special place to live.

“It’s a bit of an inconvenience when this happens every couple of years,” said New Hamburg resident Deb McCue Wideman.

Wideman notes that her gas was shut off and caused more of an inconvenience than the water.

“In these temperatures to have no heat in the house, and a lot of use have to keep the door open for a hose from the pump to run out, it makes it tough,” she said. “Especially a number of us on the street who have young kids.”

Enbridge Gas confirms that they shut off gas metres on Wideman’s street for the safety of 29 residents. They say the metres will be turned back on once the water recedes.

The company is telling residents not to turn appliances until an inspection has been done.

The GRCA says communities along the Southern Grand River Watershed like Paris, Brantford, Caledonia, and Dunnville should prepare for flooding similar to levels experienced in June 2017.

The public is advised to stay away from all waterways. Banks adjacent to rivers and creeks can become very slippery and pose a serious hazard.

For more details regarding flood situations of Grand River Watershed communities, click here.