Canadian capital Ottawa declares state of emergency as waters swell

Soldiers fill and stack sandbags on rue St Louis in Gatineau on Monday

Ottawa and Montreal on Friday declared a state of emergency ahead of more flooding and heavy downpour predicted by the meteorological department of the country.

Local conservation authorities have started to flag the possibility of 20 to 30 millimetres of rain on Wednesday and Thursday, just as water levels on the Ottawa River are expected to be peaking.

"They put up a wall of sandbags that stretches nearly a kilometre", he said, pointing down the road.

Further south, the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority in the Kingston and Brockville, Ont., area is warning water levels in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario systems are expected to keep rising rapidly this week.

While at the site Ford also expressed concern about climate change leading to extreme weather events such as those along the Ottawa River.

"I will be travelling to Ottawa first thing tomorrow morning to meet with the mayor and city officials, tour the areas impacted by the flooding, and meet with residents to ensure they're getting the support they need from their provincial government", Ford added.

Pete Davies is trying to save his bungalow in the rural Ottawa community of Woodlawn after rebuilding following the 2017 flood, which forced his family out of their home for more than two months.

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Image taken from a helicopter shows water flowing over the hydroelectric dam at Bell Falls in Quebec's western Laurentians.

Numerous people in the flood zones are feeling a sense of deja vu.

At a measuring spot near Parliament Hill later in the afternoon, where paths and parking lots along the river were already underwater, the waters inched above their levels in 2017 with the board forecasting a rise of another 75 centimetres before water levels peak on May 1.

"These folks can't go through this every single year", he said.

The best news comes from southern New Brunswick, where the forecast calls for floodwaters to slowly recede in most areas over the next five days.

Mayor Graydon Smith said in a news conference Saturday that water levels in several areas of Bracebridge were up slightly due to rain Friday, but snow may help slow the flow into lakes, rivers and streams.

In southern Manitoba, the rising Red River has forced some road closures and a small number of evacuations but earlier predictions for major flooding between the USA border and Winnipeg haven't come to pass.

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