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Ottawa Sees 75-100 mm of Rain in Six Hours, Flooding Roads and Properties

Roads, parking lots, fields and properties turned into giant lakes on Thursday, as a series of storms brought more than 77 mm of rain, hail and strong winds to Ottawa.

The storm flooded roads and the city’s transit road network with up to three feet of water, forcing motorists to abandon their vehicles and the city to close major roads including Woodroffe Avenue, Merivale Road, Meadowlands Drive, Walkley Road, Industrial Road and St. Laurent Boulevard for several hours.

“This lake in the back of my yard is just getting bigger, bigger and bigger,” Ian told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now while watching heavy rain flood his home in Ottawa’s Gloucester neighbourhood.

As of 5 p.m., Environment Canada reported 77 mm of rain had fallen at the Ottawa climate weather station.  Volunteers weather watchers reported between 80 and over 100 mm of rain across Ottawa through the day.

Coun. Sean Devine described the flooded streets as “street rivers” in his Knoxdale-Merivale ward.

Ottawa police and city officials warned of road closures across the city due to flooding, and urged residents to avoid non-essential travel during the afternoon.

“The flood is so much that cars have to take one lane to try to miss the flood. It’s a no-go area,” caller Vinny reported about the conditions at Baseline Road and Heron Road.

The storm hit Ottawa at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday, with 50 to 70 mm of rain reported in Ottawa over a 90-minute period.

Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Ottawa and eastern Ontario Thursday afternoon, saying some areas could see up to 125 mm of rain and nickel size hail. All watches and warnings ended for Ottawa just after 5 p.m.

Video sent to CTV News Ottawa showed flooding on Fisher Avenue at Viewmount, along with flooding on Merivale Road, Woodroffe Avenue and Industrial Avenue.  In Ottawa’s east end, flooding was reported in the area of Burn Street and Claude Street.

Miranda Gillingham told Newstalk 580 CFRA’s Ottawa Now with Kristy Cameron there was three feet of water at that intersection early Thursday afternoon.

“The water often accumulates there, so all the neighbours come out and they’re shoveling out the drainage holes in the road so all of the homes in the intersection don’t flood,” Gillingham said.

“The neighbours across the street actually have a foot of water in their basement.”

Gillingham adds there is vehicle “dead” in the intersection.

The East Entrance of Parliament Station was closed on Thursday afternoon due to water, with video on social media showing rain falling from the roof onto the escalator. 

Videos sent to CTV News Ottawa showed flooding at the Queensway Transitway station in the west end, with buses driving through three foot deep puddles to move through the area. OC Transpo reported some buses were detoured due to flooding and closed roads.

St. Laurent Shopping Centre says the lower level by the GoodLife Fitness and the movie theatre is closed off due to flooding. The rest of the mall was open.

The city’s director of Public Safety Services says there are no injuries reported due to the storm.

“The significant rainfall resulted in flash flooding in some areas, as well as localized power outages,” Beth Gooding said in a statement to council. “While water levels are receding, conditions remain dangerous in some neighborhoods.”

“While the City is still assessing the full extent of the streets impacted, we are aware that sections of Industrial Road, Merivale Road, Walkley and Heron Roads, St. Laurent Boulevard, Smyth Road, Innes Road, as well as parts of Vanier, Overbrook, the Glebe and Rockcliffe were impacted.”

There are no reported impacts to the city’s critical infrastructure, and the water and wastewater management plants are running normally.

Mayor Mark Sutcliffe says the city is doing “everything we can” to help residents.

“We’re addressing the most affected areas first,” Sutcliffe told Newstalk 580 CFRA.

“Every resource that we have available is being deployed to resolve issues as quickly as possible.”

Hydro Ottawa reported several small outages across the city on Thursday evening. At one point, 24,000 customers were without power Thursday afternoon.

The previous record for greatest rainfall in Ottawa on Aug. 10 was 67 mm of rain, set back in 2004.

Cancellations in Ottawa

The city of Ottawa’s sports fields and baseball diamonds are closed tonight. Coun. Riley Brockington says no games or practices scheduled on sports fields will be held.

The opening night of The Links at Lansdowne is postponed Thursday night due to the weather. Golfers with tickets are being told to check their inboxes for timeslots on Friday, Saturday or Sunday.

Northern Lights, the sound and light show on Parliament Hill is cancelled on Thursday due to the weather.

The Navan Fair has cancelled the demolition derby and the Concert Under the Domes on Thursday. The indoor exhibits, indoor marketplace and the Midway will be open.

Significant weather in Ottawa this summer

This is the fourth significant weather event in Ottawa in four weeks.

On July 13, two tornadoes touched down in Barrhaven, damaging more than 100 homes and properties. Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project said the two EF1 tornadoes had maximum wind speeds of 155 km/h.

On Aug. 3, an EF0 tornado with maximum wind speed of 130 km/h touched down in the Findlay Creek neighbourhood. More than a dozen homes were damaged.

On Monday, 36.9 mm of rain was recorded in Ottawa during severe weather. Kemptville received 76.6 mm of rain, while Brockville recorded 96.9 mm of rain.

Elevated water levels on Rideau River

Officials warn water levels along the Rideau River and the Rideau Valley Watershed will remain seasonally high over the next week due to the heavy rainfall.

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority is urging the public to exercise caution around all lakes and rivers. Boaters and swimmers using the Rideau River are asked to exercise “extreme caution” due to the high water levels.

“Water levels and flows in all waterways are generally higher than average for this time of year across the Rideau Valley Watershed,” the conservation authority said in a statement.

“Although no significant riverine flooding is anticipated, water levels and flows are expected to remain seasonally high in all waterways in the Rideau Valley Watershed over the next week.”

Thursday’s rainfall is the second significant rainfall in Ottawa this week. On Monday, Ottawa received 36.9 mm of rain.

Source : CTV News