Pembroke Flood Risk: A Crticial Weekend

A new warning that the Ottawa River could hit "historic high" levels in the next couple of days means this will be a critical weekend on the flood watch in Pembroke and the surrounding area.

The Ottawa River Regulating Committee says the ongoing release of water from northern reservoirs and the rain we got overnight could drive levels in the Mattawa and Pembroke areas higher than they were during the "historic high year" of 1960. 

Just downstream in the already hard-hit Cotnam Island area of Laurentian Valley, along with the Westmeath and Lapasse areas, levels are expected to be the highest they’ve been this spring.    

Laurentian Valley says there's still a need for help sand bagging and anyone who wants to join the effort should register at the Township Office.

Anyone living along the river is urged to monitor the changing conditions carefully over the next few days.

Pembroke State Of Emergency

Pembroke is ramping up its flood response. 

The city declared a state of emergency yesterday as the river began to creep beyond the already-flooded waterfront boardwalk area and closer to the downtown. 

"This is the highest I've ever seen it", Mayor Michael LeMay told Star 96.7.

"It's going to be difficult over the next couple of days to make the judgement of just how high that river will get", LeMay added.

25 homes are at risk along the waterfront. 

A sand bagging station will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday at the Pembroke and Area Community Centre:  that’s "Pem Ice Two" on Bennett Street. 

Anyone wanting to help should report to the PACC and register.

"We wanted to make sure that everybody would be protected", LeMay added.

Infrastructure Intact

Crititcal infrastructure, including the city's water treatment and pollution control plants, are being monitored on a constant basis, and LeMay says at this point, things are all good on that front.

"Our infrastructure is intact and our staff is on top of it, making sure that things are safe for everyone", LeMay said.

LeMay also wanted to ensure the public that the drinking water in Pembroke is safe, and that staff are monitoring it around the clock.

On Friday morning, the most extensive damage remained along the public areas of the Pembroke waterfront, including the boardwalk, amphitheatre, park, marina and walkway areas.  All of those areas, as well as Riverside Park, are closed to the public and residents are encouraged to avoid the area.

Additional information from the city is available here: 

As for the river levels, the regulating committee warns that the forecast is just that, a forecast, and will depend on precipitation, the temperature and the rate of the northern snow melt.