Posted on Wednesday March 13, 2019 at 11:45am
Could flooding once again affect Rockland this upcoming Spring?
The rising Ottawa River decimated several parts of the community in Spring 2017.
Countless houses in Rockland and area sustained heavy damage due to rising waters. Could similar flooding happen once more in upcoming Spring? “It’s hard to say,” said Clarence-Rockland fire services chief and director of Protection, Brian Wilson. “It’s up to Mother Nature.”
The latter stressed, during a March 7 phone interview with the Vision, that the matter of flooding near the Ottawa River would depend on several factors. “If we happen to have an abnormal amount of rainfall in April, it might cause water levels to rise,” explained Wilson. “We have a lot of thick ice.”
According to him, the best way to avoid flooding along the Ottawa River, is if we have what he calls maple syrup weather. “If we can get warm days and cold nights, it will make the snow melt slowly, which is what we want,” he said.
Regardless, the City has prepared itself in order to tackle such flooding. “Back in 2017, we had 70,000 sandbags and we ended up having to use a total of 120,000,” Wilson recalled. “This year, we have a total of 400,000 sandbags. We’re ready.”
The director outlined that the bags can be made available to anyone facing localized flooding. “We have localized flooding every year in some areas of the municipality,” he explained. “Sandbags are therefore going to be made available to residents who want to protect their property, as needed.”
Clarence-Rockland does have partnerships with conservation authorities in the region, such as the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, as well as the South Nation Conservation Authority (SNC).
The United Counties of Prescott-Russell will meet with the various emergency services of different municipalities on April 4, to discuss an action plan in the event that floods do affect the region.
South Nation Conservation Authority warns of flooding
The South Nation Conservation Authority issued a warning about potential flooding in low-lying areas. “Environment and Climate Change Canada is forecasting above-freezing temperatures starting March 10,” outlined the warning issued on March 8.
The warning reports that the area received an above average amount of snowfall this winter. Snowpack and ice thickness across the watershed are also above average, while water levels are slightly below normal for this time of the year.
According to SNC, forecasted above-freezing temperatures will cause snow to melt, which may cause flooding in low lying areas and increased potential for ice jams. “Residents are advised to stay away from rivers as the forecasted weather may rapidly increase river flows and banks might be unstable and slippery,” explained SNC. “Parents are encouraged to explain these dangers to their children.”
This warning is in effect until March 15.