The Humber river is breaking its banks in several places this morning after a record rainfall for the 11th January. The previous highest rainfall, 22.6 mm fell in 1960. Yesterday’s rainfall for the day was 59.0 mm which for those who still think imperially is 2.3 inches. Unusually for January all the day’s precipitation was rainfall. Because the ground was frozen and unable to absorb the water, it was drained into the Humber, causing the current high levels. Incidentally, the water was still rising at 11:30 this morning. Let’s hope none of our readers were affected negatively by this rain.
Here are a few shots taken along the Humber this morning. I couldn’t venture far into Cruickshank Park as the path was completely flooded. As always, click to enlarge the images.
The power of the current is evident from this shot just north of the Lawrence Avenue bridge.
Update: Hans Havermann sent a link to his blog showing the high water in Raymore Park.
Almost every year, a warm spell causes the Humber’s banks to flood causing a break-up of ice covering the river. As the ice breaks up it blocks the flow of water and behind the dynamically forming dam, large chunks float over the now widened river and are stranded there as each section of the ice-dam gives way and the water recedes. It’s a fairly rapid process that’s hard to catch but you certainly don’t want to be in the path of these monsters as they float up to 50 metres from shore.
Hans Havermann has some excellent images from both sides of the river, taken yesterday while it was still blocked.
Cruickshank Park has undergone two recent periods of construction. The first, in 2013 was to extend the Pan Am Path from the north end of the park to Mallaby Park at Weston Road and St Phillips.
The most recent was to do extensive erosion control work on the Etobicoke side. The Humber River was beginning to chew at a Scarlett Road co-op apartment’s playground and would have eventually threatened the whole site. Access for the work was through the Lawrence parking lot and this meant that for all but the most determined, the Pan Am Path northwards to Mallaby was closed.
A staging area and bridge to the affected bank on the far side were constructed to expedite access.
Toronto and Region Conservation Area Project manager, Courtney Rennie tells me that, “I anticipate opening the trail as early as next week, including removal of the temporary fast fencing around the project limits. There may be intermittent closures of the trail for terraseeding and restoration plantings, however that will only be for a few hours at a time while staff are on site.”
Urban Arts will be completing two new local murals this month. One will be under the Lawrence Avenue bridge and the other under the Scarlett Road bridge. These will be viewable by pedestrians and cyclists and will have an indigenous people theme. Cree Métis artist Jason Baerg, and his team of mural painters presented ideas for comments last night at the Weston Library. Both murals will be painted on long and narrow bridge abutments that run under the respective roads with a stylized thunderbird theme for the Lawrence bridge and a sweetgrass theme for the Scarlett location.
The indigenous people theme is particularly appropriate since the Carrying Place Trail ran alongside the Humber for thousands of years before European settlement of the Weston area.