‘Glimmer of hope’: Ottawa River set to peak in Ottawa-Gatineau area, with water levels to recede next week

Water levels on the Ottawa River are expected to peak in the Ottawa-Gatineau area late Friday evening, before beginning to “decline slowly” next week.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board provided a positive update on the Ottawa River situation on Friday afternoon, after six days of heavy raise caused water levels to rise and flood roads and properties across the region.

“Levels and flows have peaked from Mattawa to Lake Coulonge and are slowly reaching a peak elsewhere today,” the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board said in a statement.

“Water levels have already started a slow decline in Mattawa and Pembroke. Elsewhere, they are expected to stabilize over the weekend and should begin to decline slowly next week with the return of sunny and drier weather.”

The board warns reservoirs in the northern part of the Ottawa River watershed are “rapidly filling”, and will have little capacity to reduce river flows in downstream areas if more weather moves into the region over the next few weeks.

“Glimmer of hope shines” in Gatineau

City of Gatineau officials say “a glimmer of hope shines” on the city heading into the weekend as water levels peak on the Ottawa River.

“Levels should stabilize for several days before slowly and gradually dropping starting early next week. Sunny and dry weather for the next seven days makes for a promising outlook,” the city said in a statement.

“This encouraging news heralds a period of respite during which shoreline property owners should remain vigilant given that the situation remains precarious. The slow decrease in water levels means that these will remain high for one to two weeks, and could rise rapidly in the event of significant rainfall.”

The swollen Ottawa River has flooded 40 streets in Gatineau, mainly in the Pointe-Gatineau area, and forced the closure of 23 roads to traffic.

City officials say 85 people have left their homes due to the rising water levels and are now staying in hotels.

Dianne Picknell’s home is surrounded by water In Gatineau, with a wall of sandbags keeping the inside dry.

“I’m afraid of water; it scares me a lot. I can’t wait until the water goes down,” Picknell said Friday.

Picknell, who is in a wheelchair, is relying on her neighbours for help to protect her property.

“It’s hard; you feel left out. You feel there is no one around but I have very, very good neighbours,” Picknell said.

“I manage to keep my house clean, and cook and do laundry and all that.”

Kristyn Garneau’s home is also surrounded by water.

“The basement is flooding but we have three pumps going,” Garneau said. “Our neighbour has been really great; he came over and he fixed. There was water coming up so he put some sand bags down and it’s not coming in as fast.”

Garneau says her family’s  “fortunate” that they can walk through the high parts of the water to get out of their homes.

Flood victims who evacuate their homes are asked to register with the city of Gatineau at the flood relief centre, located at the Jean-Rene-Monette community centre.

View original article here Source