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Ottawa River expected to peak by Friday as water floods streets and properties in Ottawa-Gatineau

Water levels on the Ottawa River are expected to peak in the national capital region on Thursday or Friday following five days of rainfall, but it will be next week before the water begins to recede.

A flood warning remains in effect for the lower Ottawa River from Arnprior to Hawkesbury, with the river flooding several roads and properties in Ottawa and Gatineau. The Chaudiere Bridge is closed to traffic until further notice due to the high water levels on the Ottawa River.

In the Ottawa Valley, the Township of Whitewater Region has declared an emergency, as rising water levels pose an ongoing threat.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board says levels on the Ottawa River continue to rise due to "increased runoff from significant rainfall over the entire basin" since last Saturday. Officials warn the Ottawa River levels could rise 25 to 35 cm, depending on the location, before levels peak this week.

"Levels are expected to peak in all locations today or tomorrow from Mattawa down to Lake Coulonge, and on Thursday or Friday from Chats Lake down to the Hawkesbury/Grenville area," the Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board said in a statement on Wednesday.

While water levels could exceed the 2022 peak by up to two feet, the board said levels should remain below the historical levels of 2019 by 50 to 60 cm between Ottawa-Gatineau and the Hawkesbury area.

In Gatineau, several streets in the Pointe-Gatineau district are closed to traffic, and eastbound access to and from autoroute 50 is closed at rue Saint-Louis. The city is asking people to remove vehicles from the following streets to avoid possible flood damage: Adélard, Oscar, Blais, René, Saint-Louis between Blais and Rodolphe, Saint-François-Xavier between René and Blais, Ernest-Charron, and Corriveau.

Twenty homes in Gatineau have been evacuated due to the rising flood waters, and 46 people living in those homes are now being housed in hotels. The city says 330 people have registered with the city of Gatineau as flood victims.

"As water levels rise and streets close, the safety of our shoreline property owners is of utmost concern, and I am counting on everyone to refrain from using flooded streets, as this could cause further damage," Mayor France Bélisle said in a statement.

In Cumberland, residents spent the day preparing sandbags as water covered roads and properties in the east end.

"It's looking bad," resident Henri Ladouceur said. "You see the garage over here and maybe we will have a little water in the basement."

Glen Roberts adds, "I'm trying to keep hope alive, that's all I can say."

The Cumberland-Masson Ferry has been shut down due to the rising water levels.

"At the corner of the street there's probably five inches of water," Sylvain Lamoureux of Traversiers Bourbonnais said. "We had to cease operations last night at 10:30 p.m."

In Constance Bay, residents watched flood waters flow over sandbag walls and onto their properties Wednesday afternoon.

"They're worried; they're nervous," said Allan Joyner of West Carleton Disaster Relief. "They're stressed as anybody would be when their house is in danger."

Terry Larocque says the basement of her home is flooding.

"Every two hours we have to put gas in the pump, otherwise there would be 3 or 4 feet (of water) in the basement," Larocque said Wednesday. "I'm sleep deprived, I've also lost a lot of things and I have no insurance."

Larcoque's property flooded back in 2019, causing $300,000 in damage.

Volunteers have been working around the clock to make sandbags and help build retaining walls.

"I’ve been down the way bagging some properties and furnaces in the basement," Russell Long said while volunteering in Constance Bay.

"It’s starting to feel higher than what we expected for this time of year."

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board says it will be next week before water levels begin to recede.

"Water levels and flows are expected to stabilize into the weekend and should start to decline slowly into next week with the return of sunny and drier weather," the board said.

"Reservoirs in the northern part of the watershed, which are being used to store runoff and minimize flooding downstream, are rapidly filling. Once reservoirs are full, they will have little capacity to reduce river flows in downstream areas. Levels will therefore remain susceptible to further rise should additional significant rainfall occur over the coming few weeks."

Emergency in Whitewater Region

The Whitewater Region along the Ottawa River in Renfrew County has declared an emergency due to the flooding.

Mayor Neil Nicholson declared the emergency under the Emergency Management and Protection Act, concerned the rising water levels pose an ongoing threat.

Officials say the township is monitoring the situation closely and will provide daily updates on the situation.

The Whitewater Region Fire Department will commence mass sandbag filling at the Westmeath Public Works Garage on Westmeath Road Wednesday evening, and residents may collect sandbags as required.

With files from CTV News Ottawa's Jackie Perez and Natalie van Rooy Top Stories


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