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Ottawa River levels expected to 'stabilize' this weekend

Water levels are expected to stabilize along the Ottawa River through the Ottawa area this weekend, but officials warn heavy rain in the forecast may cause levels to rise again in some areas next week.

River levels in the Cumberland area have increased 10 cm since Thursday, while sections of Rue Jacques-Cartier and Route 307 in Gatineau are closed due to flooding.

The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board says water levels are slowly approaching major flood thresholds from Chats Lake, in the Ottawa Valley, to the Montreal area.

"Water levels and flows on the main stem of the Ottawa River continue to rise slowly in most locations in response to ongoing melt of the snowpack in the central and northern parts of the basin," the board said in a statement.

"Lake Coulonge levels have already exceeded the major flood threshold and are stabilizing. Between Chats Lake and the Montreal area, levels are expected to stabilize over the weekend."

The board warns heavy rain in the forecast may result in "additional level increases" in some locations along the Ottawa River starting on Monday, depending on the amount and location of the rainfall.

Environment Canada's forecast calls for 10 to 15 mm of rain in the Ottawa area on Saturday.

In Cumberland, water levels increased 10 cm between Thursday and Friday.

"It's a waiting game right now," Cumberland resident Glen Roberts told Newstalk 580 CFRA's Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron.

"It's a matter of trying to stay calm and trusting that the reports they're sending right now we're going to be OK this weekend. The big question is how much rain we're going to get over the next two weeks."

The city of Ottawa says the flood forecast remains within a 10-year flood range, indicating flooding slightly beyond "normal."

Firefighters have visited all homes identified as being in "higher flood-risk neighbourhoods" to distribute information and connect with residents directly.

The West Carleton Disaster Relief group is organizing volunteer sandbagging initiatives in West Carleton this weekend.

Sandbags are available at several locations in Ottawa. Click here for information on locations.

Flood watch in Gatineau 

The city of Gatineau warns the current situation is "still precarious", and levels are being closely watched due to the heavy rain and warm temperatures in the forecast this weekend.

The city is urging people to limit their movements in the areas at risk.

"I obviously have my fingers crossed," Gatineau resident Mike Douris said while sandbagging his property on Friday.

"I'm counting on 'Murphy's Law', that I'm building all this up and because I'm doing this, the river's not going to come. If it does come, I've emptied out my basement and I'm protecting the perimeter of the house with sandbags."

The city of Gatineau is handing out sandbags at nine sites across the city.  For the list of these sites, go to

"I'm confident, but I'm ready in case," Mario Gauthier said.

Gauthier raised the entire home after the 2017 flooding.

A Flood Warning remains in effect for areas along the Lower Ottawa River, stretching from Arnprior to Hawkesbury.

Pembroke area

Water levels on the Ottawa River are expected to reach minor flood levels in the Pembroke area this weekend.

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says rain over the next few days will cause the Ottawa River to exceed major flood levels at Lake Coulonge and areas downstream.

Sand and sandbags are available at the following areas in the Pembroke area:

  • Sunset Trail
  • McWitt Trail
  • Sandpoint Trail
  • Greenway Drive at Coulonge Lake Trail
  • Hilltop Drive Top Stories

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