Flood warnings issued along the Ottawa River
3 western Quebec communities have declared states of emergency
Residents living in parts of eastern Ontario and western Quebec stocked up on sandbags and continued with last-minute flooding preparations as rain continued to fall throughout the region on Friday.
The Outaouais municipalities of Pontiac, Val-des-Monts and Saint-André-Avellin have declared states of emergency due to rising waters.
Pontiac Mayor Joanne Labadie spoke Friday about plans for the municipality.
"We're asking people if they can evacuate voluntarily to do so. We have firefighters and volunteers who are going door-to-door advising people that they may be evacuated at a short notice," she said.
Heavy rains are in the forecast until Sunday, and coupled with the melting snowpack, there are concerns the Ottawa River could rise to levels not seen since the devastating floods of 2017.
- Ottawa River could hit 2017 flood levels this weekend, regulator warns
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Those concerns have spurred homeowners to descend upon the many sandbag stations set up in both Ottawa and Gatineau.
Mayor Jim Watson tweeted out that over 200 people filled 5,000 sandbags in four hours, but also asked for volunteers to assist in the future.
A big thank you to staff and the 200+ volunteers who came out on short notice today to fill more than 5,000 sandbags in 4 hours! We still need help in the coming days. If you can spare the time, please sign up to volunteer: <a href="https://t.co/KyRx2r5f6b">https://t.co/KyRx2r5f6b</a>—@JimWatsonOttawa
Gatineau is asking for volunteers to assist with filling sandbags at Aréna Beaudry from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Officials there say 93,000 sandbags have been handed out since Wednesday.
Flood warnings issued
The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority has issued a flood warning for areas under its jurisdiction that will last until Sunday.
The South Nation Conservation has done the same, warning in a statement that "It is difficult to accurately predict how quickly water levels will rise and when river conditions may peak."
Canadian Forces to assist
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted out that he had spoken with the premiers of Quebec and New Brunswick along with Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale and the head of the Canadian Forces about the flooding.
I just spoke with <a href="https://twitter.com/RalphGoodale?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RalphGoodale</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/CDS_Canada_CEMD?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CDS_Canada_CEMD</a>, and Premiers <a href="https://twitter.com/francoislegault?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@francoislegault</a> & <a href="https://twitter.com/BlaineHiggs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@BlaineHiggs</a>. We’re actively monitoring the flooding in affected areas and working together to help people in Quebec and New Brunswick as they get through this.—@JustinTrudeau
Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan also tweeted that Canadian Forces would be deployed in Quebec and New Brunswick.
The women and men of our <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadianForces?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanadianForces</a> are always ready to assist when called upon. In response to requests for assistance, our <a href="https://twitter.com/CanadianForces?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanadianForces</a> will help with the flood fighting efforts in Quebec and New Brunswick.—@HarjitSajjan
The threat of flooding has also led to a number of road closures.
In the east Ottawa community of Cumberland, police have closed Highway 174 in both directions between Cameron Street and Old Montreal Road until 7 p.m. Friday so that volunteers and workers can prepare.
The highway is expected to be closed from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. from Saturday until Monday, as well.
The OPP have closed Round Lake Road in Pembroke between Doran Road and Simpson Pit Road.
In the Outaouais, police have also closed Eardley Road between Luskville and Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham.
Gatineau better prepared, mayor says
Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin told Radio-Canada the city won't force people to evacuate unless absolutely necessary.
He also said he expected people have learned from the 2017 floods and have begun taking precautions, including filling sand bags.
One area that's expected to be hit fast and hard by flooding is Fer-à-Cheval Avenue in Masson-Angers, which is bordered by water on both sides, Pedneaud-Jobin said.
He said residents are ready and are remaining calm, but understand they'll likely be the first affected.
With files from Kimberley Molina, Jean-François Poudrier and Claudine Richard