Mice may appear in flood’s wake

After days of heavy rainfall, water levels at Marsh Lake reached a new high on Tuesday. The lake is now 30 centimetres above the old record and 51…

After days of heavy rainfall, water levels at Marsh Lake reached a new high on Tuesday.

The lake is now 30 centimetres above the old record and 51 centimetres above 2004 levels, said EMO spokesperson Doug Caldwell on Wednesday morning.

That’s 1.15 metres higher than normal for the first week of August.

The water should begin to decline next week.

However, when residents return to their homes they may discover something else has already moved in.

With the loss of natural habitat due to flooding, mice and other mammals may take refuge anywhere possible, especially in waterfront homes, according to the Yukon government’s Southern Lakes flood information website.

As the waters subsided after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans residents discovered poisonous snakes slithering throughout the city.

Thankfully, the Yukon’s possible post-flood mouse problem won’t be quite as dangerous.

However Hantavirus, a rare but serious infection, can be contracted from airborne particles of rodent urine, droppings or saliva.

Concerned residents can go to the government website to find tips for keeping mice out of a home, and avoiding the virus.

Other information, including dealing with water damage and mould, is also available on the site.

For the most part, there is a general relaxed mood in Marsh Lake, said Caldwell.

The rain is abating and emergency workers and residents have confidence in the dike.

The only concern now is the wind, which could generate waves big enough to break over the sandbag wall.

The recent cool weather has slowed glacial melt and provided relief to the area.

Hydrologists expect the water level to remain static for another week until gradually beginning to decline, said Caldwell.

“When that happens I think there will be a collective sigh of relief that you’ll be able to hear here in Whitehorse.”

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