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‘We’re bracing for it’: North Bay and area residents concerned amid Lake Nipissing flooding

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North Bay and Callander residents in northern Ontario who live on the Lake Nipisisng shoreline are bracing for floods coming from the lake.

Northern Ontario residents who live on the Lake Nipissing shoreline are bracing for flooding. April 22, 2024. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)

A flood warning remains in effect for the shoreline in North Bay, Callander and the Parks Creek watershed.

With the help of some friends, Jeff Poeta builds a barrier of sandbags protecting what’s left of his property from rising water levels.

“We lost all this about three to four days ago,” he said, pointing to the rising water levels in his backyard.

“We probably will get a little bit more washed out. Let’s hope we can save that.”

The water eroded onto his property. Now with his wall complete, it’s a waiting game to see if it will hold and what Mother Nature has to bring.

“It has come higher up in our property. We’re going to have to wait and see,” he said.

Jeff Poeta with the help of some friends has built a barrier of sandbags to protect what’s left of his property from rising water levels. April 22, 2024. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario/From video report)

Rainfall recorded by the North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority (NBMCA) two weeks ago was equal to the normal monthly total for all of April.

With the high water level on the lake, westerly winds are pushing waves towards the shoreline.

“My friend, she’s 76. She’s got sciatica and she’s freaking out because the water is going to come in,” said John Van Niekerk, who is helping a friend sandbag her property on Sunset Boulevard.

“Anyways, I came to help.”

The forecast is calling for more rain to arrive Wednesday and a large storm to blow in this weekend, leaving homeowners on Lake Nipissing to ‘beef up’ their barricades.

“It’s going to dump approximately 75 millimetres of rain altogether over three days. That’s a very large storm event,” said conservation authority flood warning coordinator Chitra Gowda.

“We’re keeping a close eye on that. We’re running the pumps.”

A flood warning was issued Friday for the Lake Nipissing shoreline in North Bay, Callander and the Parks Creek watershed. (Supplied/North Bay-Mattawa Conservation Authority)

The City of North Bay has opened two sandbag filling locations at Sunset Park and Champlain Park for anyone who needs extra protection.

North Bay area residents filling sandbags on April 22, 2024 at one of two filling stations the city has set up amid rising water levels and flooding concerns along the shorelines of Lake Nipissing. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)

“We’re bracing for it now,” said Poeta.

“Once we get this last load in, we’ll sit back.”

The conservation authority is urging everyone to stay away from banks as they can be slippery when combined with fast-moving cold open water.

Area residents and visitors, especially those in low-lying areas, are encouraged to monitor the conditions as they develop and take proper precautions during times of high flow.

If residents have a flood emergency, they are asked to contact their municipality and those who live in an unincorporated township should contact the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry – North Bay District.

As part of the NBMCA Flood Forecasting and Warning Program, staff will continue to monitor weather and watershed conditions and update this message if needed based on the changing weather/streamflow conditions.

Staff told CTV News they remain in contact with municipalities and other partners as required.

A sandbag barrier set up along the Lake Nipissing shoreline amid high water levels and flooding concerns. April 22, 2024. (Eric Taschner/CTV News Northern Ontario)

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