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Ottawa cleans up after heavy rain floods roads, properties

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The city of Ottawa is cleaning up, and drying out, after heavy rain flooded roads, parking lots, parks and properties with up to three feet of water.

Environment Canada says between 31.5 mm and 100 mm of rain was fell across the city on Thursday, with the neighbourhoods of Carleton Heights and the Riverside area seeing nearly 100 mm of rain.

A total of 77.8 mm of rain was recorded at the Central Experimental Farm on Thursday, while 38.3 mm of rain fell at the Ottawa International Airport weather station.

"What a period of rain. I think what surprised me was how quickly it came and then left," Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV Morning Live.

"This was huge; that's more than you get in the month of August and you had that in an hour-and-a-half."

The storm hit Ottawa just before 11:30 a.m., with some areas seeing 50 to 70 mm of rain in 90 minutes.  The Central Experimental Farm recorded a peak rainfall rate of 48.7 mm in one hour.

"This was just a hit and dump in about 90 minutes," Phillips said. "The city has never seen such an intensity of rain as in what we saw yesterday; no wonder there was this flooding and cars stranded."

Environment Canada says rainfall totals ranged from 31.5 mm in Metcalfe, 40.9 mm in Carp, 41.1 mm in Stittsville and 50.8 mm in Kanata.

The city reported the worst-hit areas for heavy rain and flooding included Merivale Road, Woodroffe Avenue, Fisher Avenue, Walkley and Heron roads, Industrial Road, St. Laurent Boulevard, Innes Road and Smyth Road, while flooding was reported in Vanier, Overbrook, the Glebe and Rockcliffe.

Police and firefighters responded to several calls for stranded vehicles in intersections, with officials helping several motorists evacuate from their submerged vehicles. Firefighters were also called in to assist people evacuate from an office building at Bank Street and Riverside Drive, where 2-3 feet of water flooded the parking lot and the lobby of the building.

The storm flooded a section of the Transitway in Ottawa's west end, with Emma Hubbard sharing video of water flooding the Queensway Station and the bus as it passed through the station.

It also caused Ottawa's sewer system to back up, with Sabrina Oursin posting video on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, of water backing up from her toilet into her bathroom at an apartment in the Billings Bridge area.

Coun. Sean Devine says several homes in his Knoxdale-Merivale ward suffered basement and landscape flooding.

"Ward 9 was among the several wards that were heavily hit," Devine said Friday, adding his home suffered minor basement flooding.

All roads reopened on Friday and city of Ottawa crews were conducting street sweeping in areas, according to Beth Gooding, Ottawa's Director of Public Safety Service. 

As of Friday afternoon, the city had received 130 calls related to basement flooding, with the highest volumes coming from Alta Vista, Knoxdale-Merivale and College wards. The city says the Infrastructure and Water Services Department received 160 requests to inspect sewer and drain issues. 

City officials reported "there is no impact" to its critical infrastructure due to the storm, and the water and wastewater management plans were running normally.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe was visiting with homeowners in Alta Vista to check on any damage after the flooding.

"Meeting them and seeing how they have helped each other, checked on each other and supported one another is just another example of how caring and committed the people of Team Ottawa area," Sutcliffe said.

The National Capital Commission reported a section of the Ottawa River Pathway near the Blair boat launch is closed until further notice due to flooding.

All city of Ottawa sports fields and ball diamonds are open for games and practices.

"Wet period" for Ottawa

Phillips says the heavy rain on Thursday was the latest in a series of stormy days in the capital this summer.

"This has been a wet period. You look at July and August to date, you've had twice as much rain as you'd normally get so the ground was always saturated, the systems were already full," Phillips said.

Phillips says Ottawa has seen rain on 27 of 42 days since the start of July.

A total of 277.7 mm of rain has been recorded at the Ottawa International Airport weather station in July and August.

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