Number of flood victims spikes in Gatineau as waters keep rising

The still-rising Ottawa River has not yet peaked, with a surge in the number of people who have gone to western Quebec’s largest city for help.

The City of Gatineau said this morning 1,212 people have registered as flood victims, representing 575 homes.

This represents a rise of about 200 people from Saturday morning and nearly 500 people in the last 48 hours.

Millions of sandbags have been distributed across the Ottawa-Gatineau area’s riverside communities, with the military expected to start helping residents in Clarence-Rockland, Ont., just east of Ottawa, today.

According to the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board’s latest update late Saturday afternoon, water levels had risen above those seen in 2017’s devastating spring floods west of Ottawa and were still on track to surpass those levels across the region.

According to its forecast, which depend on a number of factors and “subject to a high degree of uncertainty,” water levels could still rise approximately 30 to 60 centimetres, peaking early next week.

The City of Gatineau said water levels were at the hundred-year flood threshold in Aylmer, Hull and Pointe-Gatineau, with levels in Masson-Angers to the east nearly at that level as of early this morning.

New today

The Chaudière Bridge, one of five bridges across the Ottawa River in Ottawa-Gatineau, is now closed.

The City of Ottawa has moved its volunteer registration centre for western areas to the Dunrobin Community Centre on the Thomas A. Dolan Parkway, which is open from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. today.

Non-emergency boats are now banned from the Ottawa River between the capital and the Carillon dam on the Ontario-Quebec border, under the order of Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau.

Boaters caught breaking this ban could be fined up to $5,000.

Garneau’s office said in a news release drones are not allowed to fly within nine kilometres of flooded parts of Quebec and mentioned the possibility of further airspace restrictions if air evacuations become needed.

The future

Local conservation authorities have started to flag the possibility of 20 to 30 millimetres of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, just as water levels on the Ottawa River are expected to be peaking.

Further south, the Cataraqui Region Connservation Authority in the Kingston and Brockville, Ont., area is warning water levels in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario systems are expected to keep rising rapidly this week.

It said water levels could be a problem in some areas.

In 2017, docks and some homes in that area were affected by floods.

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