Doug Ford links Ontario floods to climate change: Just rips your heart out –

Doug Ford links Ontario floods to climate change: \Just rips your heart out\ -

Spring melt and rains spawn floods as Ottawa and Montreal fear a messy weekend

Four communities across Ontario have now declared emergencies due to flooding, including the nations capital.

Apr 26, 2019 — Four communities across Ontario have now declared emergencies due to flooding, including the nations capital.

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Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson made the announcement yesterday afternoon as he called in the military to help with flood protection.

The flooding, caused by extensive snowmelt after a heavy winter, is expected to continue in the coming weeks, with water levels expected to rise 11 cm above the May 2017 flood levels over the weekend, according to the Ottawa River Regulation planning Board. Environment Canada has already issued a special bulletin saying that the capital would face “significant rainfall” on Friday, with rain expected to hit further upstream the Ottawa River as well.

 The cottage country town of Huntsville also declared an emergency on Thursday, joining the nearby communities of Bracebridge and Minden Hills.

Provincial police said about 60 people have been obliged to leave their homes so far. They were all mandatory evacuations, but town officials and police are also urging residents in rural regions beyond the highest risk areas to leave their homes.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he believes climate change is among the reasons eastern Ontario homeowners are trying to save their homes from flooding for the second time in three years.

Video: Premier tours flooded areas along Ottawa River

Ford visited the rural west end of Ottawa this morning touring flooded areas along the Ottawa River, where officials are warning todays rain storm is going to make water levels rise rapidly over the next few days, likely exceeding the 2017 flood.

Quebec’s Ministry for the Environment and Fight Against Climate Change had not been able to ensure dam security laws were followed, with only 10 per cent of dam owners (be they private companies, municipalities or the Quebec government) submitting completed safety evaluations on a timely basis, the auditor general found. For 25 per cent of the dams, no safety evaluations had been received for six years. In addition, the Ministry did not know whether owners had carried out necessary repairs within the timelines given. In 2015, the Ministry significantly reduced surveillance of dams, no longer respecting the norms set out. The Ministry carried out only 30 repair procedures annually, when more than 300 had been deemed priority cases in terms of security.

Video: Ottawa declares state of emergency over flood concerns | Power & Politics

Ford says he is willing to sit down with the communities to talk about what is needed to protect their homes or offer compensation to move to higher ground, things both Quebec Premier Francois Legault and New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs are looking at as they also deal with flooding in their provinces.

Twenty-eight of Hydro-Québec’s dams are reservoir types, where the energy utility can release water when needed to generate power. The rest, like the Bell Falls dam, are run-of-the-river type dams where the water flows freely through turbines to create power, without a large reservoir created behind. The Bell Falls dam hasn’t generated electricity since 1999 because Hydro-Québec has a surplus of power. When it does, it generates enough electricity to power 5,000 homes.

Much of eastern Canada is bracing for more flooding today, as Environment Canada predicts rainfall from Georgian Bay to the Gaspe Peninsula.

"A lot of people want to come in and help, but most of the time they're not experienced in working as a group," Lemay told 1310 NEWS. "Or in having a priority of authority and sequencing what needs to be done in which order, in order to build the walls and make sure they're properly located and properly built, in order for the wall to sustain the rise of the water levels on the river."

 Thousands of homes are flooded or surrounded by water along the Ottawa River in eastern Ontario and western Quebec, as well as other parts of Quebec and in New Brunswick.

"The military has been involved with floods as long as I can go back," said Christian Lemay, a public information officer with Team Rubicon. "I can remember being in the military and being involved in the Winnipeg floods in the '90s."

(CNN)Canadians already deluged by floodwaters in recent days braced for more rain over the weekend as federal and local authorities marshaled resources to help beleaguered residents.

Posted in Ontario