Major flooding strikes another Lake Superior community (with photos, video)For the third time this year, floodwaters have wreaked havoc on a Lake Superior community. Torrential rains last week washed out roads, swept away cars and forced some evacuations in the Wawa, Ontario, area.
By: News Tribune staff, Duluth News Tribune
For the third time this year, floodwaters have wreaked havoc on a Lake Superior community.
Torrential rains last week washed out roads, swept away cars and forced some evacuations in the Wawa, Ontario, area, on the eastern shore of Lake Superior north of Sault Ste. Marie. The Trans-Canada Highway remained closed in that area late Sunday because of washouts.
“We are in a very difficult economic situation to start with,” Wawa Mayor Linda Nowicki told the CBC, estimating $10 million in damage to infrastructure. “Now with our roads closed, our businesses are suffering. … It’s going to be a huge task for us to get access roads back.”
The flooding follows at least two other devastating deluges in the Lake Superior region this year: In Thunder Bay, Ontario, in May, and in Duluth and the Northland in June.
In Wawa, more than 5 inches of rain fell in less than 24 hours Thursday, the Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal reported. The bulk of the damage was not in the town itself, but rather to the major highways leading to and from Wawa.
The runoff washed out sections of Highway 17 — the Trans-Canada Highway linking Thunder Bay to Sault Ste. Marie. That section of highway also is part of the Lake Superior Circle Tour.
The highway from Wawa south had reopened with temporary repairs late Sunday, the CBC reported; the road from Wawa north remained closed and could remain that way for several days.
Floodwaters north of town not only wrecked parts of the highway; they also swept several cars from a Ford dealership along the highway into a washout, and undermined a roadside motel.
The flooding also cut off access to the Michipicoten First Nation near Wawa, and the Ontario Provincial Police reported that 20 residents were evacuated by helicopter. Several homes there were damaged or destroyed, but there were no reports of injuries.
A state of emergency remained in effect in Wawa over weekend. Wawa municipal officials reported that floodwaters, though receding, continued to cause problems and that officials still were working to assess all of the flood damage.
CBC video of flood damage:
Wawa locator map: