Water levels of Ottawa River highest on record in most areas, planning board says

Click to play video: 'Drone footage shows severity of flooding in Ottawa'
Drone footage shows severity of flooding in Ottawa
Drone footage captured by The Weather Network shows the severity of the flooding in Ottawa, with roads in parts of the city completely washed out – Apr 27, 2019

According to the most recent update from the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board on Sunday, water levels on the Ottawa River at several areas across the city are the highest they’ve ever been.

While water levels have not yet reached their peak, they are all now higher then they were in 2017, which is the record-setting benchmark the city and the board has been using throughout the flooding.

The increase in water levels has slowed over the last several days the board says, mostly due to less rainfall that is expected. The forecast peak levels, however, remain the same.

Current Ottawa River levels as of 5:00 p.m. on April 28 according to the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board. Ottawa River Planning Board

“The rise in water levels along the lower Ottawa River has slowed due to less rainfall than expected in the central and southern portions of the basin and cooler temperatures,” wrote the board in their daily report.

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Though initial forecasts claimed peak levels would be hit by Saturday, the board believes the river will be at its highest point on Wednesday.

On Saturday, the City of Ottawa announced it has begun voluntary evacuation procedures, and as of Sunday morning, 18 homeowners have left their homes in the area.

By the numbers

On Sunday morning, the city gave an update on some of the statistics of flood operations across the city:

  • 5,500 volunteers have helped at the three sites since Friday, April 19, with 2,756 volunteers helping on Saturday, April 27
  • 851,000 sandbags have been made available to residents
  • 700 members of the Canadian Armed Forces are providing flooding assistance relief in the Ottawa area
  • City emergency services and Ottawa Public Health have conducted more than 318 wellness visits in all affected areas
  • 18 residents have self-evacuated
  • 117 Team Rubicon Canada work orders completed
  • Around 1,600 people have joined the City’s Spring Flood 2019 Facebook page

At a press conference Sunday afternoon, Ottawa officials praised the volunteer efforts, saying 57 homes have been saved as a result of the measures taken.

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With peak levels set to hit the river on either Tuesday or Wednesday and the work week set to begin, the city has some concerns about the potential drops in volunteers — though they have faith with the army in town.

“We do have the armed forces that are here to assess, plus our volunteer organizations like Team Rubicon, Ottawa volunteer search rescue and some of the other groups,” said Laila Gibbons, manager of parks, buildings and ground services with the city.

“We’re hoping to still have strong numbers through the work day hours.”

The city is advising residents who are still in need of help to register on their website or call 2-1-1.

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