Chris King remembers swimming in the parking lot at Pasadena Beach as a teen when the spring runoff from the melting snow would cause the Humber River to rise and flood over the land.
Instead of swimming on Wednesday, King donned his chest waders and walked through water that came up about 3 1/2 feet to check on the Oasis Grillhouse, the beachfront business he co-owns.
King said everything looked fine, with the water still more than a foot and a half from coming onto the front patio.
“The building is still safe,” he said.
The high water levels being experience all along the Humber River are due to a late spring runoff and are affecting the communities of Pasadena, Deer Lake and Steady Brook.
The Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment issued a public advisory on Wednesday saying it is monitoring the situation and asking residents to exercise caution.
Water levels and flows are being monitored 24/7.
“Hopefully, that’s all accurate,” King said Thursday, adding that it looked like the water level had plateaued.
“It was coming up steady for about a week or so and then in a two- or three-day period it came up a lot,” he said.
“It’s probably a one-in-10-year hike.
“We’re definitely keeping an eye on it. We’re hoping we’re out of the woods here now, and then the water will start to drop down.”
A little further to the west the rising river has been coming up over Forest Drive in Steady Brook.
Mayor Bill Dawson said it’s right at the area where the brook intersects with the river.
The town has put up barricades in the area and Dawson encourages anyone just wanting to get a look at the water to stay away for safety reasons.
The town is monitoring the situation and is keeping the line of communication open with residents and the province.
“The only one line who’s not answering is Mother Nature. We’ve left messages, (but) she’s not getting back (to us).”
Dawson said the weather can be strange, as usually the spring runoff is earlier and goes quickly. But this year the spring was cooler, and the snowmelt is only now coming down through the Humber Basin.
“We’re at the mouth of the Humber Basin. Everything through that huge Humber Basin passes by our door.”
He said it’s hard, as residents and as the town to watch neighbours in flood situations.
He’s heard of residents having water creeping in their basements.
“And so, we’re trying to help out where we can.”
The town has provided some residents with sump pumps, but there have been no reports of basements being flooded or residents having to move.
Dawson said the town will look at the situation to see what, if anything, it can do in the future.
“It’s the terrain and it’s where we’re positioned. It’s the geography and it’s Mother Nature at work, and we’re at her beck and call.”
Along the river to the east, in Deer Lake, Jane Janes said things didn’t look too stable along the riverbank behind her Pine Tree Drive home.
Janes has experienced the havoc the river has caused in the past.
In January 2018, when the river became jammed with ice, she lost some birch trees that had been planted in hopes the roots would help keep the riverbank intact.
Those trees are now in the river, providing some protection for the land. Jane said the tide goes out around them, so the water doesn’t wash the shore away so much.
“So, that’s one good thing. If not, we’d lose it faster.”
On Thursday, she said the water is washing out the sand at the bottom of the 30-foot bank and was up about a quarter of the way.
More of her trees are leaning down over the bank, and she’ll be thankful if she can keep them.
“We’ve got two buildings on the edge of the bank, my gazebo and my husband’s shed, but so far they’re holding strong. They’re not tipping towards the river.
“It’s a torment, I’m telling you.”