Flood warnings issued along the Ottawa River

Residents living in parts of eastern Ontario and western Quebec stocked up on sandbags as rain continued to fall across the region.

3 western Quebec communities have declared states of emergency

Papineau MNA Mathieu Lacombe, centre, speaks with volunteers in Gatineau, Que., making flooding preparations on April 19, 2019. (Claudine Richard/Radio-Canada)

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.

Sandbags line Fer-à-Cheval Avenue in Gatineau, Que., on April 19, 2019. (Jean-François Poudrier/Radio-Canada)

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.

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.

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.

Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan also tweeted that Canadian Forces would be deployed in Quebec and New Brunswick.

Road closures

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.

High water levels are seen on the Ottawa River between the communities of Hawkesbury, Ont., and Lefaivre, Ont,. on April 19, 2019. (Denis Babin/Radio-Canada)

With files from Kimberley Molina, Jean-François Poudrier and Claudine Richard


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