Thursday, May 2nd 2019, 6:39 pm - The Ottawa River is now predicted to peak on Friday, but forecasted rain could cause it to rise again in some areas
There is some good news for communities along the Ottawa River.
In urban Ottawa-Gatineau, and areas south, predicted water levels are dropping as the Ottawa River is starting to stabilize, reported by CBC. The initial stage of the flood appears to be over for communities just north of Ottawa, as the river's peak has been reached.
Local officials aren't expecting any further evacuations going forward.
However, the Ottawa River Regulating Committee (ORRC), which controls reservoir levels along the river basin, said levels are expected to swell again in Pembroke, Ont., and Lac Coulonge early next week.
They could also rise slightly from Britannia-Aylmer to the Hawkesbury-Grenville areas, as a result of rain in the forecast this evening and Friday.
LEVELS TO BEGIN SLOW DECLINE, BUT WILL REMAIN HIGH FOR SEVERAL DAYS
The ORRC expects levels to start decreasing slowly after it peaks, but they will still remain high, at a minimum, over the next week.
"Reservoirs in the Abitibi-Timiskaming area are rapidly filling. From Mattawa down to Lac Coulonge, levels are expected to begin rising again over the next few days due to increasing flow from reservoirs in the Abitibi-Timiskaming area," the ORRC says in its latest forecast.
WATCH BELOW: MORE RAIN FOR OTTAWA FRIDAY
During the last weekend in April, the river broke 2017 floodwater levels in Pembroke, Lac Coulonge, Arnprior and Britannia, establishing new highs for the ORRC's recorded history in each location except Pembroke.
According to the most recent update, the peak water level expected Friday in Britannia, Gatineau's Hull Marina, Thurso, Que., and Hawkesbury will be lower than previously forecast, but still remaining at or above 2017 levels.
The Chaudière Falls. Photo: Transport Canada.
PUBLIC SAFETY MINISTER VISITS OTTAWA-ROCKLAND AREAS
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale toured the flooded areas in Ottawa and Clarence-Rockland, Ont., to the east, Thursday.
He was joined by Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and other local dignitaries.
While there, Goodale thanked volunteers, emergency crews, the military and municipalities for their work and talked about maintaining vigilance, as the effort will continue once the river crests and levels drop.
He also mentioned there is $2 billion in infrastructure funds from the federal government, earmarked for climate change, which could improve knowledge of water flows and flood zones, resulting in less money spent on cleanup efforts, CBC reported.
STATE OF EMERGENCY REMAINS, VOLUNTEERS BEING REDIRECTED
The state of emergency the city instituted last week remains, with more rain expected Thursday night and Friday.
As part of it, the Canadian Armed Forces deployed hundreds of troops to assist with recovery efforts. They've secured around 10,000 volunteers for sandbagging and other duties, and CBC News reported this has resulted more than 1 million sandbags in Ottawa alone.
In Ottawa, volunteers were asked to head to the west end in communities such as Constance Bay and Fitzroy Harbour, though the mayor publicly stated earlier there was enough volunteers for the time being.
Volunteer centres in central and eastern areas have been temporarily closed by the city, now leaving the Dunrobin Community Centre as the last open place.
Constance Bay seen from the air. Photo: Transport Canada.
Gatineau saw less than 100 new flood victims register on Wednesday, slowing the pace of the last few days that saw closer to 200 new people come to the city for help per day.
So far, only 21 people have evacuated their homes in Ottawa, but in Gatineau, around 1,600 people have registered as flood victims so far.
The City of Ottawa is maintaining a flood resources page on its website, including information on:
- Interactive map of flood-related closures
- Community support centres
- Where to volunteer
- Sand and sandbag supply points
- List of information sources from the city
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates.