Residents along Lake Ontario and St. Lawrence River prepare for flooding

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Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority issues flood warning – May 9, 2019

Barry and Gill Hodge have owned their cottage in Elizabethtown-Kitely Township for over thirty years.

It rests on the shores of the St. Lawrence River near Brockville and has a view of the river that would make the Group of Seven envious.

Running along the side of the cottage is a wooden plank walkway.

Walking on it now, Barry said he wasn’t doing that 48 hours ago.

“This was under water by about an inch.”

He’s been paying attention to the water levels and weather systems blowing into the region because water levels are high.

In 2017, the lower part of the cottage that juts out over the river was almost two feet underwater.

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“We had to completely redo the living room and dining room floors — which were parquet — because they were completely ruined.

Another potential rainstorm has him worried he might be reliving 2017 all over again.

The Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority (CRCA) has issued a flood warning for the region.

READ MORE: Flood warning issued for North Bay area

According to the conservation authority, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River are both only half a metre below the 100-year flood elevation.

Along with rain potentially on the way, the CRCA is predicting winds approaching 40km/h with gusts up to 50km/h overnight and into May 10.

The winds are expected to come out of the south, southeast or southwest.

Barry says winds like that can dramatically raise water levels around his cottage.

“Six to eight inches depending on how strong they are,” he said.

Rainfall has been predicted at a low of 5mm to as high as 40mm.

Gill says even if the rainfall is minimal locally, there is a bigger picture she’s worried about.

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“If we’re only going to get 10mm of rain, Toronto could get 40 and if Toronto gets 40 it’s going to go by here eventually.”

Since the 2017 flood, the Hodges have added two sump pumps and added a sealant to hopefully prevent water coming up through the floor again.

The International Lake Ontario-St. Lawrence River Board manages water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

The international body has forecast a 50 per cent chance water levels will approach 2017 levels by the end of May.

READ MORE: Some areas in Muskoka beginning recovery from floods

Predictions that have the Hodges hoping the measures they’ve taken are enough to prevent serious damage to their cottage again.

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