City of Ottawa begins flood watch as temperatures rise

The City of Ottawa has launched it's flood watch as temperatures begin to rise in the capital.

City officials say they learned lessons from the devastating floods in 2017 and are taking preventative measures this year.

One of the recommendations following a review of the city response to the 2017 floods was improved communications. The city has since held more briefings in advance of the spring melt.

There are also 280,000 sandbags ready to go, with sand and sandbags available at 9 public work yards across the city, an increase from 230,000 used in 2017.

Pierre Poirier, the city's head of emergency management says the city is able to predict significant flooding 72 hours in advance.

Spring flooding is caused by 3 factors: large snow pack, warm temperatures and an abundance of rain. Snowpack was reduced in half in the month of March. 

Poirier does not believe there will be any extreme flooding this year thanks to a slow spring melt with temperatures only slightly above zero, or slightly below zero, still residents are asked to be prepared.

"For people who may be in areas prone to flooding, we always encourage them to have an emergency kit, but also for those areas that may be prone to flooding to have a sump pump or generator," said Poirier.

"Ensure their downspouts are pointed away from their homes, keep snow away from the foundation of their homes."

Residents are also asked to have insurance policies, contracts and deeds in order, as well as an inventory of household goods, enough food and water to last 3 days, and a first-aid kit.

The city says tips on how to fill sandbags as well as build a sandbag wall can be found on their website.