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Brantford under state of emergency due to flooding

Last Updated Feb 21, 2018 at 2:14 pm EDT

Officials in Brantford have declared a state of emergency and a portion of the city is under an immediate evacuation due to flooding.

The Grand River runs through the city, and conservation officials say levels have been rising after an ice jam released and sent a surge of water downstream.

The evacuation order, which was followed by the state of emergency, went into effect on Wednesday morning.

The city says residents in three neighbourhoods that surround the river — Holmedale, Old West Brant and Eagle Place — should immediately evacuate to the north.

Around 4,900 residents and 2,200 homes are affected by the evacuation order. Power has been cut to around 650 homes and gas will be shut off in the affected areas.

Police are going door-to-door in some areas, encouraging people to leave the flood plain. Buses are available for people who need to be relocated.

At a news conference earlier in the day, Brantford Mayor Chris Friel said the flooding has also closed nearby trails as well as many local businesses and schools.

People are being warned to stay away from the river.

“It is never worth your personal safety for a view of the river … stay away from the river,” Friel said. “That is not just for today or this afternoon or this evening. That will be for the next couple days at least.”

Two bridges — Lorne Bridge and Veteran Memorial Parkway — are closed. Officials say once the water recedes, structural reviews will be done of the bridges as well as the attached pedestrian bridges.

Police are flying a drone over the river so officials can monitor water levels.

Friel said the Ontario government has been in contact with his community, and Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Bill Mauro said a team is already en route to the city.

Facebook user Alex Amaral captured the following photos of an ice jam after it flowed over the banks of the Grand River in Cambridge.

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