Water at the Pembroke Marina continues to rise. With a rainfall warning in effect for Pembroke and areas of Renfrew County and additional snow still to melt in the north, the Ottawa River Regulating Committee report released April 25 at 5 p.m. indicated the Ottawa River could peak April 27 in Pembroke at levels higher than 2017.
Tina Peplinskie / Observer and News
The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) – Pembroke District is advising area residents that the flood warning in effect for all of Renfrew County has been extended until Thursday, May 2.A system moving into the area Thursday evening is expected to bring a significant amount of rain throughout the day on Friday and into Saturday. Forecasters are estimating that 20-40mm of rain could fall before the system moves out late Saturday. Daytime high temperatures in the 10-to-15-degree range will increase the melt and amount of runoff.Thursday afternoon Environment Canada issued a rainfall warning for Pembroke and many areas of Renfrew County. Rain, heavy at times will move into Central and Eastern Ontario overnight and continue into Friday evening. Local amounts exceeding 50 mm are possible. The ground, already near saturation, has little ability to absorb further rainfall.While water levels in small creeks and streams is levelling off, water levels in large lakes and rivers is continuing to rise due to the ongoing spring snow melt and precipitation events.The Ottawa, Madawaska and Bonnechere Rivers are expected to crest over the next few days, however, if significant rainfall is received from the system moving in, water levels will continue to rise, and the crest will be delayed. Water managers have indicated that water levels this weekend could potentially reach or surpass 2017 levels.As of 5 p.m. Thursday, the Ottawa River Regulating Committee (ORRC) reported the Ottawa River at Pembroke at 112.95 metres above sea level, compared to the May 2017 peak of 113.03 metres above sea level. According to the latest report, the river is supposed to peak at 113.45 metres above sea level on April 27.Residents in Renfrew County should keep a close watch on conditions, regularly check for updated messages and exercise caution near fast-moving rivers and streams. Water levels in large lakes and rivers are continuing to rise due to melting snow and ice and will continue to rise as more rain is received. Residents who have a historic susceptibility to flooding should take appropriate precautions to protect their property, such as ensuring sump pumps are functioning and securing items that may float away as water levels rise. Motorists in the area should remain vigilant for flooding over roadways and the potential for washed out culverts. Anyone requiring sandbags or assistance should contact their local municipality.MNRF advises extreme caution when using forest access roads for outdoor activities. Many are seasonally inundated with water, prone to washouts, and may be impassable due to current water levels. The public should avoid crossing any submerged roads as there may be a risk to traveller safety.MNRF is closely monitoring the weather and developing watershed conditions. Further updates will be issued as appropriate.There is still significant snow to melt in Algonquin Park and to the north of Renfrew County which will keep water levels high for the foreseeable future. Ice remains on large lakes in the County which could further increase water levels and flows as the ice degrades and increases the risk of ice jams.Many areas around the County are experiencing flooding in low-lying areas and several roads are inundated with water and experiencing wash outs. Extreme caution around lakes, rivers and submerged roads in addition to keeping a close watch on local forecasts and conditions is recommended for the safety of all residents.