Pierre-Karl Sanscartier, right, surfs on the Ottawa River as Tristan Lafontaine watches on Saturday.
Ashley Fraser / Postmedia
Gatineau is girding for flooding with weekend rain and melting snow expected to swell the Ottawa River.The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board warns that with up to 55 mm of rain forecast to start falling Thursday and snowmelt runoff, “flows and levels along the Ottawa River are expected to rise rapidly into the coming weekend.”The City of Gatineau said that water levels are expected to pass “minor” flooding levels over the Easter weekend and could rise further depending on the amount of rain.The river could reach the levels recorded from April 18-21, 2017 levels but are expected to remain under the high peak levels observed that May when flooding evacuated hundreds of homes, the city said.Laila Gibbons, director of parks, forestry and stormwater services, said earlier in April that the city had 280,000 sandbags and enough sand to deploy if it’s necessary during the spring freshet.The number is significantly higher than the 230,000 sandbags used during the 2017 floods, but Gibbons said the city wanted to be extra prepared this season. Some sand and sandbags have already been deployed to neighbourhoods along the Ottawa River.The board said that reservoirs throughout the Ottawa River basin will be used to store runoff from the northern areas but Gatineau says it’s “on alert,” warning residents in areas that will likely flood and distributing sandbags starting Wednesday afternoon.“Vulnerable” sectors include Chemin Queen’s Park and Rue Fraser in Aylmer and in Gatineau, Rue Cartier and the area between René and Blais streets, Rue Jacques-Cartier Est, the neighbourhood between Riviera and Saint-Sauveur streets and the east end of Boulevard Hurtubise. In the Masson-Angers area, Rue du Fer-à-Cheval is vulnerable to flooding.For further details, visit gatineau.ca.— With files from Jon Willing