Flooding expected in Rideau Valley

·2 min read

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority updated its flood outlook conditions again for the region.

Although not required to be updated until the end of the month, the RVCA pre-emptively updated its flood outlook in part due to the short-term forecast.

Rainfall in the amounts of 40 to 50 millimetres was expected for the area between Thursday and Sunday. While temperatures were expected to be cool from Friday onwards, they would still be above zero degrees.

Some localized flooding in the RVCA supervision area is expected due to the rainfall.

"We're basically expecting water levels to go up everywhere in our watershed," said Brian Stratton, RVCA manager of engineering services.

While Stratton and the RVCA especially noted the North Gower area, all low-lying areas with water bodies face the possibility of flooding.

Snowmelt in March began rapidly, with some parts of the area seeing quick rises in water levels and flows. While it has been followed by more gradual melting, the watershed conditions remain at a flood outlook level.

"The spring thaw this year was a little bit early, everything has kind of shifted a couple weeks earlier," said Stratton.

He added that if rainfalls the size experienced this week don't occur in April, the early shift should not have any negative effects when it comes to flood risk. However, if the severity of rainfalls seen this week takes place again in April a few times in a row, it could lead to flooding.

The RVCA uses a five-category index for watershed conditions, with the current status in the middle. The current status, "flood outlook," is categorized as an "early notice of the potential for flooding based on weather forecasts calling for heavy rain, snowmelt, high wind or other conditions."

The next highest level is a flood watch. Currently, only the low-lying areas near North Gower are in a flood watch under the RVCA supervision.

The RVCA says precautions to lower the risk of water damage include ensuring a sump pump is working and downspouts are clear, and removing valuable items from a basement or lower level.

The association is also stressing that any remaining ice on lakes, local streams and rivers will be unstable. They advised that extreme caution be exercised by anyone near a local waterbody.

Ice breaking up can also increase the risk of ice jams and overbank flooding,

Stratton said satellite images showed that while most of the snow has melted, ice can still be seen across the watershed region on waterbodies.

The updated watershed condition is in effect until April 15 unless the forecast or conditions change.

Marshall Healey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times