The Spring Flood of 2013 at Oxtongue Lake, Ontario
What promised to be a sunny, warm weekend was anything but that. Instead the rainy weather produced The Spring Flood of 2013 at Oxtongue Lake, in Ontario.
Heavy rains over the previous few days, combined with the normal spring runoff from melting snow, combined for a disastrous situation. My dad’s lakeside property had become part of the lake.
This is a view of my dad’s beach property under normal spring conditions.
What a shock it was, then, to wake up Friday morning and see the whole beach property under more than a foot of water. Bob and my dad donned their wet weather gear and headed down to check the status of things.
Slabs of ice were freely floating around the shallows of the new “lake” even as rain continued to fall.
My dad in his new hip-waders did just that…waded out into the ice cold water that ended up being up to his hips!
With his pike pole in hand, my dad wanted to retrieve several pieces of firewood floating in the flood waters as well as the steps from his storage shed. It was also necessary to re-secure his dock.
My mom and I were casual observers of the goings-on,
but later went for a walk to see just how much water was coursing through the culverts along Oxtongue Lake Road. There was tons of it and no indication that it was about to let up!
Early Friday morning, the depth of the flood water hadn’t crested yet, and at its deepest point, was up to my dad’s hips.
Even as my dad and Bob surveyed the situation, the water levels were increasing.
Bob eventually had to anchor the storage shed by throwing chains over the roof and securing them with cement blocks. The shed literally threatened to float away.
Further along the road, worried neighbours watched as the rising waters engulfed their own storage sheds,
set canoes adrift,
and flooded beachfront dwellings.
Heretofore beaches were now nonexistent,
and playgrounds looked more like water parks.
A check on the dam at the south end of Oxtongue Lake revealed it to be totally submerged with no sign of the structure in sight.
At least the free-flowing water would speed the exit of waters draining from Oxtongue Lake. The river was a seething, roiling mass of unbridled power.
Still further along the river, at Marsh’s Falls, the unrestrained waters of the Oxtongue River had free rein.
It was quite the different scene at Marsh’s Falls last summer when visitors could confidently stand on the rocks next to the cascading waters.
As you see in our video, heavy waters were now flowing over Marsh’s Falls.
Glistening icicles that had formed on twigs at water’s edge bobbed randomly in the air currents generated by the surging waters.
Back at Oxtongue Lake, the Spring Flood of 2013 continued to rise with frequent rain squalls that continued all day.
It was a scene never before seen by my dad who has lived at Oxtongue Lake for over 60 years.
Yes, when I was a child, most springs saw flooding of the lakeside property but never to this depth. At its peak, the impromptu lake at the beach achieved a depth of water that came up to my dad’s waist. That was on Saturday afternoon.
Let’s all hope that the waters recede quickly so that the lake is returned to its natural state and everyone can appreciate the much-longed for spring season. In only another month or so, we will look out on a world of green grass and warm sunshine.