A strong storm system is forecast for January 10 through 12 and is expected to bring rain and freezing rain to the region. Total amounts and form of precipitation are uncertain, but forecasts are calling for rainfall amounts of 25-55 mm+ as well as significant ice build-up.
With frozen ground conditions and minimal snow pack to absorb rainfall, there is an increased risk of basement flooding, while ice-build up can lead to downed powerlines, trees on wires and power outages.
Utilities Kingston offers information so you know what to do in case of basement flooding, power outages, downed powerlines and sewer overflows.
Protect your property from basement flooding
Know what to do if your basement has flooded. First and foremost, consider your family’s health and safety. Entering a wet basement could be hazardous! When in doubt, don’t enter the flooded area until you are told it is safe by a professional qualified to do so.
During heavy rainfalls, every basement is at risk of flooding - even if it's never happened before. Consider the following tips to protect your property:
- Remove high value items out of your basement and store other items in water tight containers.
- Check your sump pump for proper operation and follow the manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations. For example, you may wish to:
- Confirm it’s plugged in and working properly. Have you considered battery backup in case of a power outage?
- Check your sump pump lines to ensure they aren't frozen.
- Consider an extra length of hose to increase the distance at which it discharges away from your foundation.
- Consider, if your sump pump drains to the surface, the discharge point may be buried under debris. Uncover it and clear a path so the water drains away from your foundation. Otherwise, water may recycle back into your basement.
- Check your sanitary backwater valve, and operate and maintain it according to the manufacturer’s directions. Consider these tips:
- If you can do so safely, you may wish to open the lid, clean it out, confirm there is a good seal in place and test its operation.
- When it’s raining heavily, reduce your water use. The sewers may be filling due to the heavy rains and the device's gate may close to block sewage from backing up into your home. The opposite is also true – sewage from your home cannot get out, either.
- In general, the devices must be installed in accordance with manufacturer directions and Ontario building code, in an accessible location. Check and clean the devices frequently, following the type and frequency of maintenance, as per manufacturer recommendations.
- Get more information about backwater sanitary valves.
- Ensure your downspouts are clear of debris so water routes safely away. Downspouts should be directed at least two meters away from the foundation, so you may wish to consider an extra length of pipe.
- Reduce your water use on rainy days. When it’s raining heavily, the sewers may fill up. Using a lot of water during heavy rains (for example, taking a shower or doing laundry) can contribute to basement flooding and overflows to your environment. Consider using less water in extreme weather situations.
- If you know that a catch basin on your street is covered in ice or debris, we’d appreciate if you could take some time to clear it. This will help make sure that rainwater can enter the storm sewer and promotes good drainage away from your neighbourhood.
Powerline safety and power outages
Downed lines and tree branches
- If you see a downed power line or tree branch that has fallen on a power line, always assume it still has electricity flowing through it, even if it isn’t sparking.
- Stay back at least 10 metres or 33 feet (that’s about the length of a school bus) and don’t touch anything metal (such as guard rails) in the area.
- Report it immediately by calling 911 or our emergency line at 613-546-1181. This line is answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
- If a power line falls on your car, the car and the ground around it may be electrified and you could be killed if you get out of the vehicle. Stay inside until the utility workers tell you it’s safe to get out. Tell everyone to stay back 10 metres or 33 feet.
Power outage precautions
Review our power outage precautions. For example:
- Locate a phone that does not require electricity, as well as a flashlight and batteries.
- Consider an alternate source of power for your sump pump and any medical equipment.
- Avoid using a propane barbeque, camp stove or portable standby generator indoors.
- Plan to turn off all appliances that will turn on automatically when power is restored.
Know your electricity provider - and who to contact in an emergency
Stormy weather can cause power outages. We want to ensure that our operations centre staff remain focused on safely and quickly restoring services to our customers. Please assist us by knowing - and calling - your correct service provider.
Kingston is primarily served by two electricity providers – Utilities Kingston and Hydro One. A small number of homes and businesses in Kingston East and north of the 401 receive their services from Eastern Ontario Power. If you are an Eastern Ontario Power customer, call 1-844-601-9473 in case of a power outage.
The following PDF Map outlines the areas served by these three providers. Please review it and get familiar with who to contact in your area.
If your power outage is in the following areas, check with Utilities Kingston, via our Outage Map, or by calling our 24-hour line at 613-546-1181:
- Barriefield and CFB Kingston
- Central Kingston:
- south of the 401
- from the Little Cataraqui River, west to Dalton Avenue, Strathcona Park, Grenville Park, Fairway Hills and Collins Bay Penitentiary Lane.
Still not sure? Take a few minutes now to check your electricity bill and note your provider, or use the address lookup tool available from the Utilities Kingston website to see which of our services you receive.
If your power outage is in the following areas, then please call Hydro One at
- East Kingston, not including Barriefield and CFB Kingston
- North of the 401
- West Kingston, including Meadowbrook, Bayridge, La Salle, Auden Park, Henderson Place, Lakeland Acres, Reddendale, Cataraqui, Westbrook, Midland Park, Kingston Airport – and west of these areas.
Check our sewer overflow map
During and after heavy rainfall, sewer overflow points may discharge diluted sewage into local water bodies. Utilities Kingston provides this information on a real-time map to help you make a better-informed decision about recreational water use. Consider this information along with public health precautions.
Traffic signals may not be working
Consider these precautions:
- During stormy weather, be aware of, and avoid driving or walking under, dangling traffic signal heads. Report traffic signal issues in Kingston to 613-546-1181.
- Power outages and high winds mean that a number of traffic signals may not be working. Travelers are reminded to treat the affected intersections as though they are four-way stops and yield to traffic on the right.
- Did you know? We’ve installed 82 uninterruptible power supplies at critical intersections throughout the city - check out this map of locations. In the event of a power outage, the UPS allow for safe and efficient traffic flow, providing power for three to six hours.
Also review these tips from the Ministry of Transportation with safety information about driving and flooded areas.
If you have any concerns about utility equipment, contact the Utilities Kingston 24-hour line at 613-546-1181.