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Belleville braces for flooding as state of emergency continues

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Saturday, April 12, 2014, 8:00 PM -

Belleville officials are appealing for volunteers this weekend, with rivers expected to swell from spring run off and rains.

Deputy Fire Chief Bruce Greatrix said volunteers were active in flood management efforts since the community declared a state of emergency on Thursday, and more would be needed this weekend.

Area firefighters have been so busy with sandbagging efforts that the municipality issued an outdoor burning ban, for fear that firefighters may be too busy to respond in the event of an outdoor fire.


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The Canadian Press reports a Belleville woman and her young daughter had to be rescued by firefighters using an inflatable raft on Thursday, the day the state of emergency was declared.

Flood warnings were issued for several rivers in the area, and Quinte Conservation says water levels will remain high, or get higher, over the next few days.

The region experienced major flooding in 2008, and Quinte Conservation warned Friday that expected rainfall in the northern part of the watershed could raise water levels even higher than in 2008.

"The snow melt entering the river systems adds about 2 cm of water every day," Water Resources Manager Bryon Keene said. "What is going to melt over the next three days is enough to keep the rivers high. Any rain that is added will make things worse.”

A series of systems is set to move into southern Ontario beginning Saturday afternoon, with some kind of rain event expected in most areas until Monday.

Belleville Fire Chief Mark MacDonald said officials had been preparing for this year's flood season for weeks, working with Quinte Conservation to identify homes that were hardest hit by the 2008 floods, a one-in-ten-year event that hit the Foxboro and Colbyville areas hardest.

He said residents of those areas were contacted and warned of the risk in the days before this year's flooding, and officials provided sand, sandbags and poly sheets to those in need, as well as assistance.

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