Weekend flood peak ‘just the first peak’ this spring
Published Wednesday, April 24, 2019 10:12AM EDT Last Updated Wednesday, April 24, 2019 10:18AM EDT
Peak flood levels on the Ottawa River are expected to arrive this weekend, with the Ottawa River Regulating Committee forecasting a 48 cm increase in the water level in the Lac Descenes and Britannia between now and Sunday, and a 26 cm increase at the Gatineau/Hull Marina between now and Monday.
But officials with the ORRC say this weekend’s peak is not the end.
Senior water resources engineer Michael Sarich tells CTV Morning Live a second peak is coming this spring.
“In terms of the Ottawa River, this is only the first peak,” Sarich said. “There’s a lot of snow left up in the northern regions. At this point, northern dams have been left closed trying to mitigate to the maximum possible effect here in the lower valley, but these northern waters are eventually going to arrive here.”
Sarich says he can’t give a prediction yet on what will happen with the second peak because a lot of factors are at play.
“It depends on how soon those waters arrive and what kind of precipitation we have in the intervening period,” he said. “This isn’t going to be a sprint; it’s really a marathon this year. There are still meters of snow left in the northern regions, so a lot of water to come.”
According to the ORRC, the water in the Lac Deschenes and Britannia area peaked at 60.44 m above sea level in May of 2017. The peak expected this weekend is currently forecast to reach 60.45 m above sea level. At the Gatineau/Hull Marina, the May 2017 peak was 45.2 m above sea level. By Monday, the ORRC forecasts a peak level of 44.6 m above sea level.
In Gatineau, more than 300 people have so far registered as flood victims. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is scheduled to tour an evacuation centre in Gatineau Wednesday afternoon.