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Ottawa River levels begin to drop in some areas

Saturday, May 4th 2019, 2:04 pm - After peaking Thursday, Ottawa River levels are beginning to drop but some areas could see a swell next week

The Ottawa River situation continues to improve, with the City of Gatineau reporting Saturday water levels in five hydrometric stations have receded by about 10 centimetres in the last 24 hours and 20 centimetres in the past 48 hours.

This weekend's forecasted warmup and dry conditions should help with water levels, but the area could receive some rain on Monday afternoon.

With that, 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. According to the board, the river may rise another 23 cm in Pembroke, peaking at 113.45 metres above sea level on Tuesday.

The Ottawa River Regulation and Planning Board (ORRPB) said levels have begun to decline in many areas including Constance Bay, Britannia and Cumberland, as well as in Clarence-Rockland and Alfred and Plantagenet.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority's flood warning remains in place but the organization noted levels are expected to decline over the next two to three weeks, depending on the weather.

SOME EMERGENCY MEASURES LIFTED; VOLUNTEERS ASKED TO TAKE BREAK

As conditions begin to improve, some of the emergency measures put in place are being lifted.

The City of Ottawa is also recommending volunteers take a break after several bags of sandbagging and emergency response. Volunteers will be needed again soon to help flood victims deal with the flood's aftermath.

As part of the state of emergency that was issued for the region last week, the Canadian Armed Forces deployed hundreds of troops to assist with recovery efforts. They 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-flooding Constance Bay seen from the air. Photo: Transport Canada.

LEVELS TO BEGIN SLOW DECLINE, BUT WILL REMAIN HIGH FOR WEEKS TO COME

The ORRC expects levels to start decreasing slowly over the next few days along the Ottawa River below Lac Coulonge, however water levels will still remain high over the next two weeks at minimum.

"Further flooding is possible in the event of significant rainfall events during this period of time," the board says.

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.

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.

FLOOD RESOURCES

The City of Ottawa is maintaining a flood resources page on its website, including information on:

Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest updates.

WATCH BELOW: WHY NOW? WHY THIS YEAR? QUESTIONS OUR EXPERTS ANSWER ABOUT THIS HISTORIC FLOODING

With files from CBC News.

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