Outaouais flooding: Streets like canals, basements like pools
Entire region on alert as water levels approach 40-year high
While Gatineau seems to be the hardest-hit area so far, communities on both sides of the Ottawa River are dealing with flooding and the possibility of even higher water levels as the weekend — and heavy rainfall — approaches.
- Flooding: What to do if it happens to you
- Photos: Aerial view of west Quebec flooding shows extent of deluge
With somewhere around 50 millimetres of precipitation predicted in the days ahead, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin is warning residents to get ready for worst.
"What we're asking from citizens is to prepare themselves, but to prepare themselves for several days. When it begins to recede, it's going to take time to go down, so they'll have to arm themselves with patience," he said.
Pednaud-Jobin said he wanted to avoid calling a state of emergency because he's hesitant to force people out of their homes unless absolutely necessary.
Quebec's minister responsible for the Outaouais, Stéphanie Vallée, said the province, in cooperation with the Red Cross, will make assistance available to people in need. She said she hopes that will encourage people to leave their homes if necessary.
The Red Cross has 40 hotel rooms available for people in need, and is negotiating with more hotels and motels in the event that flooding worsens.
The numbers so far:
According to the City of Gatineau, more than 100,000 sandbags are on order and expected to arrive by Friday. That's on top of the 132,000 that have already been distributed since April 18.
Homes and flood victims
- At least 240 people have left their homes on a voluntary basis.
- At least 130 homes evacuated.
- At least 122 people looked after by the Red Cross.
- At least 467 homes visited by firefighters since May 1.
- At least 24 pets evacuated, including dogs, cats, a hamster, a ferret and a bird.
A look at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gatineau?src=hash">#Gatineau</a> street closures: flooding along shore, Pointe-Gatineau district and west of Sanscartier Park. <a href="https://t.co/rZg8xMQv10">https://t.co/rZg8xMQv10</a> <a href="https://t.co/68TOojQw5v">pic.twitter.com/68TOojQw5v</a>—@CBCOttawa
Other communities bracing themselves
According to South Nation Conservation authority, flood levels along the Ottawa River are expected to peak early next week.
According to a news release, "water levels are expected to continue to increase this week and may cause significant flooding between Gatineau and Grenville.
"Residents are advised to stay away from watercourses where flows are high and where banks might be unstable, particularly in the Township of Alfred and Plantagenet. Parents are encouraged to explain these dangers to their children."
In Cumberland, crews have been using boats to get to people who need to be evacuated from their homes.
Residents including Fernand Viau, whose Morin Street home is surrounded by water, fear heavy rainfall will fill their homes with water.
The councillor responsible for the area, Stephen Blais, has toured the affected area and said city officials are monitoring the situation.
And in Clarence-Rockland, the city has declared a state of emergency as dozens of volunteers were on hand Thursday to fill sandbags for friends, neighbours and even strangers as the Ottawa River is lapping right up to waterfront homes.
High alert in Pontiac
Back on the Quebec side, municipal officials in Pontiac remain vigilant, according to Mayor Roger Larose.
Around 20 homes have been vacated, while 30 or so remaining without power, he told Radio-Canada. The most affected roads are du Saphir, Dion and Bord-de-L'Eau.