Environment Canada issued a warning of another significant rainfall in the forecast for the Muskoka region, prompting officials to encourage many residents to evacuate.

Bracebridge Mayor Graydon Smith spoke with media Thursday morning and said with more rain on the way the concern is for the safety of residents.

Smith advised those in the Springdale Shores, Holiday Park Drive and Cedar Shores areas to evacuate.

“There is weather in the forecast that is not promising, with 25 to 40 millimetres of rain,” he said. “Lakes don’t have any more capacity to retain water.”

The town is planning to cut the power to the Springdale Shores area.

Smith said water levels in many areas had exceeded those seen in 2013 when the region experienced its worst flooding in more than a century. On Tuesday evening the town declared a state of emergency.

Today, Smith warned residents in low-lying areas that they will see higher levels of flooding.

“We want to make sure residents in existing flooding areas know this will get worse before it gets better.”

Several roads have been closed to traffic, but Smith said some motorists are still tempting fate trying to pass through the washed out roadways.

“Roads that are closed means roads are closed,” he stressed. “It is for your safety. We cannot guarantee the integrity of the roads underneath the water.”

With some residents in communities with only one way in and out, the mayor says they will need to make a choice. Stay or go. “Especially those in the Beaumont Farm area, we are advising them to call 2-1-1 after 1 p.m. today to let us know if you plan to stay or go.”

Anyone planning to ride it out should have enough supplies for at least 72 hours.

Other communities at risk 

The Environment Canada special weather statement also includes the areas of Gravenhurst, Huntsville Baysville, Port Carling, Port Severn, Town of Parry Sound, Rosseau, and Killbear Park.

The town of Huntsville declared a state of emergency on Thursday after the weather warnings of more rain on the way. Officials say the lakes are rising slowly, and they are dealing with flooded roadways throughout the Port Sydney area. Shelter options are open to assist residents.

In Ramara Township, water levels along the Black River have plateaued and are slowly beginning to decline. Officials say there has been an increase of 125 millimetres since Wednesday, which they expect to taper off.

The Township of Minden Hills declared a flooding emergency on Wednesday. In a press release, officials said an overflow of water on Horseshoe Lake through the Gull River is continuing to rise, which is putting residents and properties at risk.  The town has already closed several roads due to flooding concerns and has advised caution to motorists. Sandbags have been made available to residents living in at-risk areas.

Dozens of other areas in Ontario’s cottage country are currently under flood warnings or watches.

In Gravenhurst, town officials said the situation is stable, but that sandbags are available to residents in low-lying areas whose properties may be threatened by floodwaters.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry issued a flood warning earlier this week for District Municipality of Muskoka, the Territorial District of Parry Sound and a northwest portion of the County of Haliburton. The warning is to remain in effect until Wednesday, May 1.

On Wednesday, Ontario Premier Doug Ford toured the Bracebridge and surrounding regions. The premier, whose family owns a cottage in Muskoka, pledged to provide support to the affected communities. Earlier this month, however, Ford’s government cut funding in half for flood management programs run by conservation authorities.

- With files from Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca