It's almost Easter Weekend, a time when we celebrate Spring, among other things. Unfortunately, a big part of spring is rain and that's what we're in for this weekend. The rain is expected to be so bad that flood warnings and evacuations have been issued in Ontario and Quebec.
Across Ontario and Quebec, Environment Canada has issued several rainfall warnings and a number of special weather statements. They say that 25 to 50 mm of rain is expected to fall by tomorrow night. The heaviest rain will start later today and may last through to Saturday.
In the most severe warnings, which are mostly in the northern parts of Southern Ontario like Ottawa, Algonquin, and Grey-Bruce, they warn that with this heavy rainfall, flash-floods and localized flooding are a very real risk.
For example in the rainfall warning issued for the City of Ottawa, Environment Canada warns, "localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. Keep children and pets away from creeks and river banks."
The chance for flooding is even worse given that in many of these areas the ground is still somewhat frozen and therefore unable to absorb all the rain that will fall. This means the water will just pool on top.
For some parts of Ontario and Quebec, the flood risk is so severe that evacuation orders are actually in place. In Rigaud, Quebec, a town near the Quebec-Ontario border, residents have been told to leave their homes immediately as the heavy rains could bring massive flooding since the town is right on the Ottawa River.
Marie-Andrée Gagnon, a spokesperson there told CBC, "almost all the houses that are near the water will be flooded or will have water [damage]."
This wouldn't be the first time an evacuation order has been issued for Riguad. Back in 2017, the town was told to evacuate ahead of another flood, however, 40% of residents ignored that order. It's unclear how many people will ignore the most recent evacuation order, given that it's not a mandatory evacuation.
Meanwhile, in Ontario, an evacuation order has been issued for the Kashechewan First Nation, which is located in Northern Ontario, along the Albany River. The area is in a flood plain and is prone to spring flooding every year.
According to the warning from the Ontario Government, "a precautionary evacuation of the Kashechewan First Nation began on April 15, 2019 and will continue as needed." They go on to say that "evacuees are currently being hosted in Timmins with flights today starting to go to Kapuskasing."
As you head further south in Ontario, the rainfall becomes less severe. In the GTA for example, there are some special weather statements in effect, as they are still expecting 25 to 50 mm of rain, but the flood risk there is much lower.
So far, there are no warnings or statements in place for the City of Toronto.
Disclaimer: Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.