The Spring Flood of 2013 at Oxtongue Lake, Ontario

oxtongue lake - flooded - april 19 2013

Oxtongue Lake flooding - flooded beach front and docks - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - west shoreline - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake in a normal spring

This is a view of my dad’s beach property under normal spring conditions.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - my dad marvin and Bob prepare to check things out - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - ice floats in rain - April 20 2013

Slabs of ice were freely floating around the shallows of the new “lake” even as rain continued to fall.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - ice floats in from lake - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - my mom checks out the flooded oxtongue - April 20 2013

My mom and I were casual observers of the goings-on,

Oxtongue Lake flooding - fast moving water from distant hills - April 20 2013

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!

Oxtongue Lake flooding - flood waters almost to top of my rubber boots - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - inspecting the damage in heavy rainfall - April 20 2013

Even as my dad and Bob surveyed the situation, the water levels were increasing.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - Bob retrieves plastic sheet floating in flood waters- April 20 2013

Oxtongue Lake flooding - Bob prepares to move block of wood from flood waters - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - new waterfront cottage - April 20 2013

Further along the road, worried neighbours watched as the rising waters engulfed their own storage sheds,

Oxtongue Lake flooding - sunken canoe and firewood adrift on lake - April 20 2013

set canoes adrift,

Oxtongue Lake flooding - high waters on distant shore - April 20 2013

and flooded beachfront dwellings.

Oxtongue Lake flooding -view across lake to east shoreline - April 20 2013

Heretofore beaches were now nonexistent,

Oxtongue Lake flooding - playground under water - April 20 2013

and playgrounds looked more like water parks.

Oxtongue Lake control dam - flooding - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake control dam - waters high above dam during major flooding - April 20 2013

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.

Marsh's Falls flooding - gushing white water - Oxtongue river - April 20 2013

Still further along the river, at Marsh’s Falls, the unrestrained waters of the Oxtongue River had free rein.

Marsh's Falls in the summer time on the Oxtongue river - April 20 2013

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.

Marsh's Falls flooding - water gushing from beneath far rock bank - Oxtongue river - April 20 2013

As you see in our video, heavy waters were now flowing over Marsh’s Falls.

Marsh's Falls flooding - icicles above raging water - Oxtongue river - April 20 2013

Glistening icicles that had formed on twigs at water’s edge bobbed randomly in the air currents generated by the surging waters.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - canada goose enjoys flooded beach front - April 20 2013

Back at Oxtongue Lake, the Spring Flood of 2013 continued to rise with frequent rain squalls that continued all day.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - flood land and fences into the lake - April 20 2013

It was a scene never before seen by my dad who has lived at Oxtongue Lake for over 60 years.

Oxtongue Lake flooding - marvin puts new hip waders to good use - April 20 2013

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.

Oxtongue Lake in the summer

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.

Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean


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