The Canadian Army has arrived in Constance Bay as a light armoured vehicle (LAV) drives in front of the community centre on Friday morning. Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia
Wayne Cuddington / Postmedia
Residents of the nation’s capital were anxiously waiting as a major storm threatens to dump as much as 35 millimetres of rain on the region and bring even more volume to rivers and waterways that are already bursting their banks.Higher rainfall levels of up to 55 mm are forecast further out in the Ottawa Valley and in the Outaouais region.According to the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board, if the rain ends up being as bad as projected, the region could be in for worse flooding than what was seen in 2017.“Forecast rainfall of 20 to 50 mm is expected Friday and Saturday. Combined with runoff from snowmelt and recent rainfall in the central part of the basin, flows and levels along the Ottawa River are expected to rapidly rise over the weekend. On Monday and Tuesday, flows and levels are expected to exceed those observed in May 2017 depending on the amount of precipitation received. All areas along the Ottawa River that were impacted in 2017, and possible additional areas, are at risk,” said the organization in its latest statement regarding the flooding situation.Premier Doug Ford was to tour the affected regions Friday morning.Related
Sandbaggers were out bright and early in the Constance Bay area.
Mountains of sand has arrived at the Constance and Buckhams Bay Community Centre as volunteers continue to fill sandbags. Photo by Wayne Cuddington.
Wayne Cuddington /
Meanwhile, Cumberland’s Leo Lane continues to be one of the hardest hit areas.Near Pembroke, the Ministry of Natural Resources has extended its flood warning for all of Renfrew County until Thursday, May 2. The ministry extended the warning due to Friday’s expected rain storm.While there are several hard hit areas Ontario side of the Ottawa River, the Quebec side has so far been harder hit.Almost 600 people have been forced from their homes, and the City of Gatineau has taken to the extreme of building temporary dams out of crushed rock, called “rockfill”, in a bid to slow or shape the flow of the water as it continues to encroach on neighbourhoods.Gatineau public works crews began laying the rockfill on Boulevard Fournier late Thursday night in anticipation of the potential for rising waters as a result of the expected rainfall.The city also said that as many as 20 members of the Canadian Navy have joined in to support Gatineau firefighters evacuate neighbourhoods that are being affected.The city warned that the rising flood water has affected traffic, with several street closures in certain areas now complicating travel throughout the region. The exit and entry ramps to Highway 50 near Rue St. Louis remain closed and the Alonzo Bridge will only be used for one-way traffic heading into Hull between 6 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and one way traffic heading into Gatineau between 3 pm and 6:30 pm.Several schools, including St-Coeur-de-Marie, Providence, JM Robert and Louis-Joseph-Papineau in the town of Pontiac are closed due unsafe road conditions associated with the flooding in that region.Roads are washed out at the Aylmer Marina.At a 4 p.m. news conference on Thursday, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said the army was sending 400 troops and Premier Doug Ford had pledged provincial support. Ford is expected to tour flood ravaged areas on Friday.“We can no longer do it alone,” Watson said.A number of factors led to the emergency declaration, according to the city: Extensive snowmelt from the Ottawa River’s northern regions, a “significant rainfall” advisory issued by Environment Canada for overnight Thursday night, through Friday and into Saturday, and a forecast from the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board that waters could rise 11 centimetres above May 2017 flood levels over the coming weekend.City manager Steve Kanellakos said the city simply doesn’t have the capacity to handle what might happen in the weeks to come, which is why he went to the mayor to suggest declaring a state of emergency.“The number of requests for help is increasing and the flooding threat is imminent,” Kanellakos said.The incoming Canadian Forces troops began arriving Friday morning to start providing help in western communities, as West Carleton, Constance Bay, Dunrobin and Fitzroy Harbour appeared to be the most threatened so far. Canadian Forces members were already embedded in the city’s emergency operations centre and troops were also planned to be available to help in Britannia and Cumberland.Anthony Di Monte, the general manager of emergency and protective services, urged people not to show up in flood-impacted communities to sightsee to avoid impeding city officials and soldiers trying to provide aid.The city was set to open three emergency community support centres on Friday where visitors would be able to speak to representatives from the community and social services department and Ottawa Public Health. Representatives from the Canadian Red Cross could also help to triage residents’ needs, answer resource questions and follow up on resident inquiries or direct them to the appropriate service.The Salvation Army said on Friday that it has sent mobile food trucks to the Britannia, Constance Bay and Cumberland neighbourhoods and will serve lunch, dinner and snacks to people affected by the flooding and the volunteers who are working in those neighbourhoods. The charity said it has also sent Salvation Army members to help provide emotional and spiritual support to those affected.With files from Megan GillisALSO IN THE NEWS: City police kick off ‘zero tolerance’ campaign against disorder in Market, VanierOttawa police asking to lease 400 tasers as part of force-wide rollout Powerful drug carfentanil detected at supervised consumption site