Members of the Canadian Armed Forces arrived in Ottawa this morning to deal with flooding as water levels along the Ottawa River continue to rise and a rainfall warning threatens to make things worse.
The military arrived in the rural northwest Ottawa community of Constance Bay just before 9 a.m. ET Friday, where residents and volunteers have been filling up sandbags for days.
About 400 troops are expected to be deployed to key areas to help with sandbagging and other efforts.
It comes after the city declared a state of emergency Thursday, not long after Environment Canada issued a forecast predicting that up to 35 millimetres of rain could fall by Saturday morning.
By Friday morning, Environment Canada had upgraded the special weather statement to a rainfall warning “due to the limited ability of the ground to absorb this rainfall,” the agency said in a notice posted on its website.
People in Constance Bay are filling up sand bags to take to their homes to help protect them from flooding. There is also a call for volunteers to help fill sand bags. This is the third disaster the community is facing in two years. Flooding 2017 and tornado 2018. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottnews?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#ottnews</a> <a href=”https://t.co/ihT7IgViux”>pic.twitter.com/ihT7IgViux</a>
At 10:45 a.m., Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Minister Ralph Goodale is expected to give an update on federal support for flood victims.
You can watch the update live on this web page.
Premier tours area
While touring the Constance Bay area Friday morning, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he believes climate change is among the reasons eastern Ontario homeowners are trying to save their homes from flooding for the second time in three years.
Ford said that when you see the affected people face-to-face, it “just rips your heart out,” and added they can’t be expected to go through this every year.
He said he’s willing to sit down with the communities to talk about what is needed to protect their homes or offer compensation to move to higher ground, things both Quebec Premier François Legault and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs are looking at as they also deal with flooding in their provinces.
The Ontario government asked for federal help Thursday and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that will come.
On the Quebec side of the river
In Gatineau, Que., across the river from Ottawa, the navy has been helping with evacuations by boat.
“Exceptional” flood levels are expected to be reached first in the city’s Aylmer and Pointe-Gatineau neighbourhoods.
About 713 flood victims from 342 homes had registered with the city as of Friday morning, many of them from the Boulevard Hurtubise area near Lac Beauchamp.
Further east, in the western Laurentians, a bursting Rouge River and possible failure of the Bell Falls Dam led to a mandatory evacuation order Thursday.
The 104-year-old dam was built to withstand flows of up to about 980 cubic metres per second, which is what it is currently seeing. But Hydro-Québec officials believe the flow could increase to 1,300 cubic metres per second.
They expect the dam to hold even at that higher flow rate, but are evacuating the area as a precaution.
This story originally appeared on CBC