Ottawa

Ottawa declares state of emergency as water keeps rising

The City of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency as river levels continue to rise, threatening to surpass those reached when flooding devastated some neighbourhoods two years ago.

Water now forecast to rise above May 2017 peak levels in some areas

Steve Tousignant watches the Ottawa River from the deck of his home in Constance Bay on May 8, 2017. Authorities are warning the river could soon surpass peak levels reached during major flooding two years ago, prompting the City of Ottawa to call a state of emergency on Thursday. (Justin Tang/Canadian Press)

The City of Ottawa has declared a state of emergency as river levels continue to rise, threatening to surpass those reached when flooding devastated some neighbourhoods two years ago.

Mayor Jim Watson made the announcement during a news conference Thursday afternoon.

We can no longer do it alone.- Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement predicting up to 35 millimetres of rain by Saturday morning, and river authorities are now forecasting that in some areas, the water could rise up to 11 centimetres above peak levels reached in May 2017.

Watson said he's also asked for help from the Canadian Armed Forces, and has been told 400 troops will be deployed to key areas.

"We can no longer do it alone," Watson said. "We are now beyond our city's capacity, and that is why we have called in the Armed Forces."

Watson said he expects the troops will be on the ground by Friday morning.

Mayor Jim Watson and city manager Steve Kanellakos say a worsening weather outlook has prompted the city to ask for support from the Canadian Armed Forces. 1:51

City manager Steve Kanellakos said the city felt prepared until the latest forecast from Environment Canada.

"I can say with certainty that the flooding situation has changed almost in the blink of an eye," he said.

He said the city could remain in a state of emergency for some time.

"I cannot tell you how long we will be in this state of emergency. If the flooding is severe there could be weeks of recovery operations."

Premier Doug Ford has also pledged the provincial government's support, and will visit the region on Friday.  

While levels on the Rideau River have stabilized, the Ottawa River is expected to rise about half a metre from Constance Bay to east of Cumberland by the weekend, according to South Nation Conservation.

The city has distributed thousands of sandbags to residents across the region. 

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.