Following a near-record winter for snowfall, city officials, police and the watershed authority issued a flood warning for Ottawa yesterday.
Measurements of the snow pack taken in the city show twice the amount of water in the snow than normal for this time of year, said Bruce Reid, director of watershed science and engineering services with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority.
“There is potential for significant flooding,” Reid said, especially if temperatures should suddenly rise to double digits.
Flooding depends on the weather Ottawa experiences over coming days and weeks, said Reid, adding that the ideal scenario is warm days interspersed with colder ones.
“The snow pack just eases out,” he said.
The city is taking measures to reduce the risk, said Deputy City Manager of Public Works and Services, Richard Hewitt, including clearing the drainage system of snow and debris.
He reminded residents to take steps to protect their own property from damage. The city has also provided sand and shovels at locations across the city for residents’ use.
Ottawa Police Superintendent Charles Bordeleau warned residents to stay away from waterways, including rivers, lakes and ditches, and to beware of hydroplaning while driving.
Kanata South Councillor Peggy Feltmate was concerned about what would happen once large piles of snow stored on private property begins to melt.
Anyone with concerns can call the city by dialing 3-1-1, Hewitt said.