Tag Archives: Floods

Only Child weighs in on Toronto’s plans to mitigate extreme weather

Rooftop Garden Ryerson University Toronto. Sharon A. Crawford photo

Continuing on from last week’s post on extreme weather and the devastation it causes, some places are actually doing something. The City of Toronto, for example is tackling the flooding issue by upgrading its storm and sewer systems in the older parts of Toronto. I live in one of them and because a previous council and Mayor screwed up back in 2000, with the sewers in my area (they put in the wrong type that apparently don’t do the job), it all has to be done again. My area is scheduled to have the streets, etc. dug up in 2020 or 2021. Because of the mess and more than inconvenience to me and the others in my neighbourhood with that fiasco, I am on watch and warning and have let my councillor know and why.

But the city councillors may have learned some lessons in that all upgrades will be done with other repairs, upgrades in the area at the same time, finishing up one area with all – sewers, street lights, intersections, streetscapes on the main street-  before going to the next. And we will have contact people and their info to nail if things go wrong. They are also going to make sure we know where to put our garbage and recycling during that time as that was one of the big complaints in 2000.

Logistics covered, what exactly is the point of the new storm sewers as far as basement flooding is concerned? I know from experience that not all basement flooding is caused by sewer systems that can’t hold all the excess rainfall water. My situation of basement flooding has a lot to do with foundation cracks, most of which are the fault of that jerk contractor Nigel Applewaite who didn’t do the water proofing correctly – he didn’t dig down far enough and when I called him on it, blamed it on drains and said to get the drains checked by the City. I did – twice – no problem then.

But, old storm sewers, catch basins and the like can factor in. I just have to look on my street and neighbouring streets to see how few catch basins there are and how the water puddles on the street. And why do I have two catch basins close together on my street when the others basins are so far apart? For those  more information on how storm sewers and the like operate go here.  As all this takes time, let’s hope it isn’t too little too late.

The other thing the City of Toronto has been doing  since 2010 requires new buildings of a certain height (and other criteria) to build a roof garden – this one is mainly to create more diversity, but also to help offset one aspect of global warming – help keep roofs and inside cooler on those extreme hot and humid summer days. Vegetation will do that. In fact Toronto has been touted as being the North American city with the most green roof space.

Then there is  global warming and one other thing cities seem to have way too much of – concrete. Concrete does not absorb water from rainstorms. Maybe the city should also consider getting rid of a lot of the concrete on the ground and putting in grass or gardens. Actually, there is some progress here. My area’s sewer replacement program includes putting in a water garden in the middle of one of the residential roads. Maybe we need more of that. And downtown open areas are being made into parks. Which is all good.

Here are some links to roof and other gardens.

Twelve of Toronto’s Roof Gardens

Toronto Botanical Gardens

High Park Garden in Toronto

Meantime, the extreme weather keeps barrelling in everywhere in the world. No place is safe anymore to live. God doesn’t seem to be doing much, if anything,  to help so we have to try to fix it ourselves.

I can’t put in a roof garden – even if I could afford it. My roof slants. But I have over the years planted perennial, herb and vegetable gardens in the ground – front and back of the house. I’ve had my downspouts disconnected and had extensions put on them, and have heat cables on the roof to try to melt snow and prevent it from changing to ice and ending up with ice jams, which when melting can end up in the basement. And letting others know who not to hire to water proof their basements.

What are you doing to offset global warming and the like?

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

Rooftop Garden Ryerson University up close. Sharon A. Crawford photo

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Basement Flooding, Gardens, Global Warming, Only child

Devastation from unholy weather continues in eastern Canada and US

Downtown Johnson, Vermont after flooding and snow. Dan Noyes photo

The disastrous weather continues and escalates. We in Toronto, Canada were spared – this time – with a bit of freezing drizzle and a bit of snow at the end of last week, but the east coast of Canada (particularly Corner Brook, Newfoundland and the United States (particularly Vermont) got flooded and iced out.

We are living in war zones, folks, and it doesn’t look like it will get better.

For those of you who blame all climate change on us humans – that  isn’t the whole story. When 20 to 21 per cent of climate change is caused by volcanoes, you can’t put the guilty tag on humans for that one. And there are scientific and historical facts that bluntly point to humans not being responsible. There is also plenty of the reverse – humans caused climate change and in doing so all the mess our climate is in now.

Here are a few links for both sides of the global warming issue. I’ll let you read for yourself and decide.

One hundred reasons why climate change is natural and not man-made

And a CBC story from Newfoundland with interviews, photos and videos of the devastation here
You can Google for more stories – pro and con.
My take? Some human causes; some “natural” causes.
And maybe “dog” spelled backwards has something to do with the natural causes – depending on what your beliefs are about God and how the world began.
One thing is clear to me. God does not seem to be listening to us most of the time when we ask to be spared from the devastating weather that destroys our homes, our cities and towns, our countries, our lives – yes, floods, ice storms, etc. kill people. Or help us when we ask for help in the aftermath. I am always amazed, and yes dismayed, when people who have lost their homes and are displaced thank God they are still alive. Be that as it may, I would like to revisit their stories six months down the road and see how they feel then.
So what is the answer?
I haven’t got one that will fix it all. But folks, I do know, we have to deal with all this devastation ourselves- prevention, when it happens, and afterwards. We are doing the latter  two – we are forced to. Prevention? Yes, some places had plans to fix that damn, etc., but then the floods came – with heavy rains. Too little too late.
Next post I’m going to show what the City of Toronto is doing towards the flooding issue (and let’s hope it is not too late).
Meantime, here is another recent flooding picture from Newfoundland

Washout near Corner Brook, Newfoundland, Anthony Germain CBC photo

Cheers.
Sharon
Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, God

Canada Day got rained on

People walk through puddles on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Canada Day 150. (Fred Chartrand/THE CANADIAN PRESS) See story and more photos here.

 

This photo from a Canadian Press story gives one instance of the many Canada Day celebrations in southern and eastern Ontario which were pelted with rain. Ottawa, Canada’s capital was filled with puddles in the main celebration vein on Parliment Hill. Here in east Toronto, I finally made it to the local celebrations at Stan Wadlow Park. It is my Canada Day tradition to do this – check out all the vendors, stay around for some of the music performances, walk through the Rockery Garden and sit by the garden for a lunch that I make and bring. After that, I usually go for a long walk in that neighbourhood to look at and see the front of people’s gardens and their Canada Day flags and other celebration paraphernalia. In this walk, I wind my way back to one of the main streets and get on a bus to go home.

Not this July 1. I had visited all the booths and was just heading across the grass for the Rockery when the rain started to come down. It had been grey skies with a little sun when I left home but I had taken my chances. This was Canada Day and I wanted to celebrate. So, I brought rain gear – umbrella and raincoat and wore my rain-proofed shoes.

Might as well have worn an evening gown. All the good that rain gear did. I made it to under the big overhang of the clubhouse – as did several other people before it came down harder. No point hanging around until it stopped as the grass would be puddles and messy. But the rain gear didn’t really help when I stepped out to leave, so it was back under the overhang until the rain trickled down to a drizzle. Then, shaking my fist at the sky, I left.

So much for celebrating at a community event. I didn’t bother going to the fireworks after dark as I didn’t want to sit on damp ground.

The rain returned in batches of heavy rain and thunderstorms on Sunday too. But I manged to get back to Stan Wadlow park and walked through the Rockery. And I brought a lunch which I sat on the bench and ate. But no long walk around the neighbourhood. I had barely finished eating when the dark skies were back so I hurried to the nearby bus stop, and got on the bus just before  it poured. But this time I wasn’t heading for home. This time I headed down to Nathan Philips Square in downtown Toronto where the festivities were supposed to be continuing. There was something going on, but I had missed the best of it. At least it had stopped raining and the sun was shining. Maybe I should have headed down to Sugar Beach for the Redpath Festival. By the beach on the lake was parked a very large rubber duck. Despite it’s lack of appropriateness for Canada Day per se, the rubber ducky was appropriate for all this wet rainy weather. Mr. Duck was in the right place at the right time.

Monday, yesterday was fine – lots of sun and warm. I walked locally for a mile and a quarter and did some gardening as well as some weekly housecleaning. And I cooked. Nothing stopped me from cooking this weekend. And eating. And raising a glass of white wine to toast Canada Day 150.

But all this rain we have been making me think. Especially as my hose is still curled up from when the handyman fixed the tap and put on a new attachment at the other end of the hose – over a month ago. I haven’t needed to use that hose yet. We are really being rained off this earth – if you look at all the photos and videos from around the world. With the exception of a few places like parts of California, earth has turned into a huge washout. Is there a  message in this? Should we start building arks or going to outer space?

I also decided to check out a few rain statistics. Here are a few links to check out

National Weather Office in Georgia

The Weather Network (pick your city and pick your video).

And less we forget about just one of the big rainfalls this spring and early summer. Here’s one town in Quebec.


François Lussier rows along a flooded street in the town of Rigaud, Que., west of Montreal, on May 8, 2017.
GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

In Toronto, Toronto Island, across one part of Lake Ontario, is still closed to visitors. Only those who live there and make deliveries are allowed. No ferry boats of tourists. But on a good note the water on Woodbine Beach is receding.

And here’s my dormant hose.

 

Perhaps if we all shook our fists at the sky. Collectively. Like a reverse rain dance. Never mind what your beliefs of why the rain. All this rain, heavy winds, tornadoes and the like come from the sky.

One two three. Shake that fist.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Canada Day, Extreme Weather, Floods, Only child, Rain

Devastating Floods sign of what’s to come?

Toronto Island Flooding

 

The floods came this past weekend – from southern Ontario to southern Quebec to New Brunswick to…

Hey, wait a second (not a minute – you could drown in a minute) – this isn’t just happening in Canada – it is occurring all over the world on an ongoing basis.. And I don’t think it is one big coincidence.

First, a disclaimer. As many of you know, I am not religious. But religious or not, I can’t help feeling that those who believed that the end of the world would come in October 2012 are not far off the mark. They got the date wrong, but not the end result. The floods and fires and tornadoes and hurricanes that are now a regular weather occurrence, provide a lot of meat to this theory. And I don’t think doing a Noah, i.e., building a big ark is going to work.

The photos make the water getting in my basement Friday into Saturday seem almost paltry as I was able to contain it using many towels and many towel changes – including setting the alarm clock for 4.30 a.m. Saturday morning.

Of course, all this work, the wet, the damp and the worry just made my health worse. Multiply that many thousands of times to those flooded out of their homes and the situation is almost incomprehensible.

And there is the danger to trees, the soil and other parts of nature. It isn’t only we humans who are hurt.

Being a former journalist I, of course, need to know why.

If you take the “end of the world” theory, you can take it from there to see where perhaps a lot of the blame lies. And not necessarily only with people. Remember not all global warming is caused by what people do and have done. For example, volcanoes cause 20 to 21 per cent of global warming.

Methinks we all need to do two things. Help those who are hit by disaster – where and how we can. Don’t forget nature – plant more trees once the waters recede.Tell your loved ones that you love them. And try to live one day at a time.

I’ll end with another photo and a link to more at

The Weather Network

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes


François Lussier rows along a flooded street in the town of Rigaud, Que., west of Montreal, on May 8, 2017.
GRAHAM HUGHES/THE CANADIAN PRESS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under End of World Predictions, Extreme Weather, Floods, Life demands, Only child, Weather

Only Child has mixed Thanksgiving thoughts

Only child in her home

Only child in her home

Yesterday Canadians celebrated Thanksgiving. But I have mixed feelings about the meaning of the annual holiday and the role of gratitude in our lives today on planet earth.

Today, I’m playing devil’s advocate with questions and I would like your comments about Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time to express our gratitude. What about the thousands of people in Haiti killed from Hurricane Matthew? What about those that survived – so far? Cholera is a big shadow hanging over Haiti. What about those on the east coast of Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and even up in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia that are victims of Hurricane Matthew?

Are the survivors grateful for losing family members, their homes, their cities and towns, their livelihood?

I am always flabbergasted and yes, troubled, when survivors of floods, winds, fires say “we’ve lost everything but we still have our family.” Are they suffering from shock and that’s their initial reaction? As they try to put their lives together, how many of them suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. You don’t go through all that and come out feeling good, feeling gratitude. In the long run, doesn’t it take it’s toll?

I can only speak from part observer – what I see on the news and weather network. My own personal experience (so far) with floods is a flooded basement (about four to six inches) from the main water drain backing up (the official diagnosis) in November 2005. That was devastating enough. If not for the help of my friend and next door neighbour, Alex, it could have been much worse. Right away when I banged on his and his now late wife, Tanya’s door, Alex came over with a super-charged Shopping Vac and  cleaned out the flood. There was still aftermath to deal with – insurance people, drain company, restoration. I was so upset I refused to have anything done beyond the initial cleanup the restoration company did until the spring. My reason was with my allergies to many chemicals I didn’t want work done when windows couldn’t be opened in the winter. But now I wonder how much was shock.

My rec room looked like a war zone and the tiles in other rooms were broken.  I moved all dry food stored downstairs up to the spare bedroom because I couldn’t bear to go down there. My trips downstairs were limited to getting food from the freezer and doing laundry. And I had to be careful going down the stairs to the basement because the steps were no longer cushioned by carpeting – that was all ripped up the day after – and that includes carpets in the foyer and hallway.

It is only a tiny experience of what those devastated by floods (or fires or winds) go through, but it gave me a taste of the reality in our world today.

No place is safe to live in.

So, I ask my question again, reworded somewhat.

Do you have anything to be thankful for? And if so, what?

And yes, I do have a few things to be thankful for, including my son and his girlfriend, my friends, my garden, my writing, and dare I say it my home? Fortunately or unfortunately I am stubborn and tenacious and I don’t take it lying down. I think that’s why I became a journalist too many years ago and while I no longer am a journalist, my writing – personal essays/memoir, this blog and my fiction  – all  deal with the bad in life. And I also yell a lot and try to make sense of what has no sense.

As Shakespeare wrote “Now is the winter of our discontent.”

Notice his choice of seasons.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

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Filed under Extreme Weather, Floods, Gratitude, Life demands, Only child, Overwhelm

Only Child says we are at the mercy of bad weather and bad forecasts

black_umbrellaI admit it. I am a Weather Network junkie – both online and on TV. So I see videos of the horrible weather and its havoc worldwide. The number one horror this summer is floods, with its downside of droughts.

No matter what country the videos cover, everyone and everything seems to be drowning. Except in a few places like southern Ontario – so far. Keeping toes crossed that we don’t swing over to the opposite. Yes, we need the rain, but in these unsettled (to put it mildly) times, rain usually means torrential downpours, severe thunderstorms, flooding and the like. I can count on two thumbs the one day and one night this summer that Toronto had a normal rainfall where each lasted about six or so hours – medium rainfall, steady, no thunder, no lightning, no flooding on the streets. Just what we need.

But except for those rainfalls, that is not what we are getting.

Here in southern Ontario we have drought conditions – not the highest in numbers but getting there. But the gardens seem to be surviving so far. Perennials, for the most part are bigger and better, and the vegetables and fruits are doing well. For the first time in several years I am getting a decent-sized, almost large (for just me) crop of carrots, lettuce, onions and beans with some peas in there for good measure. The black raspberries were numerous and the rhubarb is about the same as other years. So, the turnips aren’t doing well – some plants even died. So, the lawns turned brown. Some lawns (including mine) have started turning green again – without me watering it, although a few small pathways probably got some water when I watered the perennials, shrubs, trees and vegetable and herb garden. I made sure they received the water but at the same time tried not to use too much water.  I know the farmers need more rain although the ones with vegetables and fruit at the farmers`markets seem to be doing okay.

But do we really want the opposite? And all that could bring? Flooded streets and basements, sometimes to the point we lose our homes and have to swim or take a boat through the flooded streets, or climb to the roof and hope a helicopter will rescue us.

These days you can’t really live anywhere without this fear hovering overhead (literally). I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Climate change has a lot to do with it. But, it is also like the lady on that bus in May 2015 said: “God controls the weather.”

So, I try to spend time in my garden – if I’m not weeding or picking beans, or watering the garden, I like to sit out there and read, look around, and dare I say it? just think.

It’s what I think about that has changed as has the weather – a lot of the changes in all areas, not just weather, are not for the better, and it seems to have gotten much worse since we entered the 21st century.

That’s my 10 dollar’s worth anyway.

Well, costs have risen too, although the Canadian dollar is in the toilet.

Sorry, bad connotation – the water element.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

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Filed under Extreme rainfall weather, Extreme Weather, Floods, God, Home and Garden, Rain, Weather

Only Child in scary storm watch

Winter storms now constant worry

Winter storms now constant worry

I’m doing this week’s post early (but setting it to go live the usual late Tuesday morning). Why? We’re in winter storm watch in southern, southwestern and southeastern Ontario from suppertime. Depending on where you live it could include snow mixed with ice pellets, freezing rain and then transitioning early morning to just rain for light rain Tuesday. High easterly winds coming with all this until 11 a.m. or so on Tuesday. Maybe power outages but hopefully not.

This week’s post was supposed to be my year-end tally of the good and bad that have happened in my corner of the world. That will have to wait until next week’s post. If I posted this week the bad would outnumber the good by a lot. May still outnumber the good, but maybe not so much as this week. Who knows? We live in a scary horrible world where no place is safe – and I don’t mean only the weather

One of my close friends is very sick with cancer. She was rushed to the hospital yesterday. Her son isn’t well either, so her husband is doing everything. For privacy’s sake I’m not naming them or giving any more details. Just saying they are among the friends who have helped me a lot and I am trying to help them where possible.

I am also trying to reach my son and his girlfriend. They were here Christmas Day and evening and we had a lovely visit, chatting and eating Christmas dinner. They brought the cooked ham (I’m allergic to turkey) and Martin did a few quick odd jobs around the house. Martin and Juni (who is a graphic designer) designed the background colours for my new website in the works. I’m working on content, but the three of us sat at my desktop computer (with Martin doing actual computer stuff) to sort out content layout and even content and where it should go.

Boxing Day early morning they left early for the Ottawa Valley area in eastern Ontario. Yesterday that area got hit with hours of freezing rain. I have emailed but no response so don’t know what their situation is. They are staying at the home of Juni’s aunt and uncle. I’m going to try phoning my son’s cell but who knows if there is cell reception there or what.

The three of us did talk about the impending storm for the Greater Toronto Area and beyond coming today and they thought they might wait to leave to come home until Tuesday. But more storm is coming their way then. I suggested we keep in contact by phone and email Monday and Tuesday because of this weather.

I hope they are all right.

Meantime, back on the home front, I’ve gone into emergency disaster mode – everything from batteries to non electric radios (I have an old Walkman, although it’s difficult to see what station you are on and the old ghetto blaster can be used with six C batteries – if you get them all in correctly). Have a land line with cords (can’t use the wireless landline extension during power outages) so hopefully the phone service doesn’t go. Don’t want power to go either. But have flashlights (and extra batteries), candles (but I’m leery about using them much for safety’s sake). Have done most of the emergency profile/info from the Ontario government page – to help me do what I need to do – as much of it as I can.

It is all a big worry.

Not safe anywhere in the world – England has floods in York area, southern and midwestern USA – tornadoes, twisters, rain, snow, floods.

Yuck.

Anyway, let’s hope 2016 is much better in all ways for everyone.

Cheers.

Sharon

Only Child Writes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Anxiety, Extreme Weather, Family and Friends, Floods, Hydro power outage, Ice Storm Southern Ontario, Leaky Basements, Mixed Perceptation, Only child, Uncategorized, Weather, Winter Weather