Ottawa River floods set to smash all-time records

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Ottawa River floods set to smash all-time records

by - 3 min read

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The still-rising Ottawa River has already set all-time high water records and has not yet peaked.

  • LIVE | CBC Radio One has a live Ottawa-Gatineau flooding special from 12 to 1 p.m. ET. Listen online, on the CBC Radio app or 91.5 FM.

According to the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board’s Sunday morning update, the rise in water levels has slowed because of cool temperatures and less rainfall than the upper limit of this weekend’s forecast.

However, according to its forecast, which depends on a number of factors and is “subject to a high degree of uncertainty,” water levels will continue to rise and are expected to peak in Ottawa-Gatineau on Tuesday or Wednesday.

According to the committee’s water levels forecast at 9 a.m. Sunday, the river is at levels it’s never seen before in Lac Coulonge, east of Pembroke, Ont., and Arnprior, Ont. Recordkeeping for both areas date back to 1985 and 1950, respectively.

Records are also expected to be broken at Britannia in Ottawa and the Hull marina in Gatineau in the coming days.


The City of Gatineau said water levels were at the 100-year flood threshold in Aylmer, Hull and Pointe-Gatineau, with levels in Masson-Angers to the east less than 10 centimetres from that level.

An update from that city is expected at 1:30 p.m. ET., while an update from Ottawa is scheduled for 4 p.m. ET.

Jocelyn Laplante walks through floodwaters near his parents’ home, Wednesday, April 24, 2019 in Gatineau, Que. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)

The City of Gatineau said this morning 1,212 people have registered as flood victims, representing 575 homes.

This represents a rise of about 200 people from Saturday morning and nearly 500 people in the last 48 hours.

The City of Ottawa said Sunday afternoon it knows of 18 people who have left their homes.

There are states of emergency in at least 14 communities in the region, including Ottawa, Clarence-Rockland and the Pontiac.

Millions of sandbags have been distributed across the Ottawa-Gatineau area’s riverside communities, with the military joining residents in Clarence-Rockland, Ont., just east of Ottawa, today.

The military is helping stave off floodwaters in Clarence-Rockland, Ont., April 28. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

The province announced its offices in Gatineau would close on Monday because of the floods.

New today

The Chaudière Bridge, one of five bridges across the Ottawa River in Ottawa-Gatineau, is now closed.

The city of Ottawa has moved its volunteer registration centre for western areas to the Dunrobin Community Centre on the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway, which is open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. today.

Non-emergency boats are now banned from the Ottawa River between the capital and the Carillon dam on the Ontario-Quebec border, under the order of Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau.

Boaters caught breaking this ban could be fined up to $5,000.

Garneau’s office said in a news release drones are not allowed to fly within nine kilometres of flooded parts of Quebec and mentioned the possibility of further airspace restrictions if air evacuations become needed.

The future

Ottawa’s deputy mayor tweeted a model showing how far floodwaters are expected to reach into one area of Cumberland, near the city’s eastern border.

Local conservation authorities have started to flag the possibility of 20 to 30 millimetres of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, just as water levels on the Ottawa River are expected to be peaking.

Further south, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority in the Kingston and Brockville, Ont., area is warning water levels in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario systems are expected to keep rising rapidly this week.

It said water levels could be a problem in some areas.

In 2017, docks and some homes in that area were affected by floods.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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