Toronto is soaked. Record amounts of rain have been pummeling southern Ontario, filling Lake Ontario to its highest level in recorded history. And with more rain on the horizon, the city may not be drying out any time soon.
"We have the highest water level that we’ve ever seen in recorded history, and it is expected that it will continue to keep rising for a couple more weeks at least,” Nancy Gaffney of Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA) told City News Toronto.
The cause of the wet weather? Unusually warm temperatures in the Great Lakes, which is driving more water vapor into the atmosphere, University of Saskatchewan geography professor John Pomeroy told The National Post. Also, the jet stream over eastern North America has been stalled for a few months, causing longer periods of rainfall than normal.
Toronto received nearly double the amount of rain this spring than it usually does. Toronto Island Park, part of a chain of small islands in Lake Ontario, has been especially hard-hit, and the Toronto Star reports that "the city has been working to mitigate the effects by using large industrial pumps to remove surface pooling and employing 25,000 sandbags."
The flooding is so severe that the islands will be closed through the end of July. But some brave paddlers like Daniel Williams, whose photo appears above, have commented on how oddly beautiful the landscape has become.
Some Toronto homeowners have reported more than a foot of water in their basements. Lake Ontario has consumed Woodbine Beach and a nearby dog park, the Star reports. Water is coming up through the planks of a boardwalk. Residents who have lived in the area for 35 years say they've never seen the lake this high.
Ferry service to and from the Toronto Islands has stopped, and some business owners say they've taken a financial hit as a result. CBC News reports:
Ken McAuliffe, general manager of the Ward's Island restaurant, doubts the business even hit seven percent of what it brought in by the same time last year, amid flooding that has now covered at least 40 percent of the islands' land mass and cut off the typical flow of mainland visitors.
Photographer Williams told Toronto Life that this is part of Far Enough Farm, which is adjacent to an amusement park and covered with a few inches of lake water.
Williams found he could paddle his kayak right up to these bleachers.
And at the baseball field at Gibraltar Point, the lake water has brought with it mating carp, which can be seen swimming in shallow water around the baseball diamond in the video below.
Not the usual catch you might see on a baseball diamond! These carp have taken over a baseball field at the Toronto Islands. pic.twitter.com/s2QlT6SWLC— Azzura Lalani (@AzzuraLalani) May 15, 2017