Featuring Connor Mockett
Hello, everyone! Welcome back to another week of The Weather with Connor. This week, I’d like to talk about another chase that I need to catch up on writing about. This column will be about the August 10th, 2023 flooding event in Ottawa.
This day was a bit of a weird one, as the day turned into something models were not showing at all. I knew that storms were going to fire up early in the day, which ended up being the morning, and move to the east. This is what happened, but I didn’t expect storms to form into what they did.
As storms started to strengthen and evolve, it all formed into a line and cluster, and headed into Ottawa. I started driving towards the City, and when I got to about North Gower, started to realize what was about to happen. A flash flooding event would start to unfold.
That line of storms wasn’t similar to other lines that typically move southeast or just straight east. This line was something I like to call “training thunderstorms”, a line of storms that continuously moves over one area over a period of several hours. It arrived in Ottawa early in the afternoon and reports of flooding were quickly coming in as the torrential rain wreaked havoc on the city.
I started by going onto Prince of Whales out of Manotick where the rain was so heavy, I couldn’t even see where the road was in front of me. It was flooded over too, on fresh pavement without lines, which made it even more difficult. At this point, I started to hear rumours about Merivale Road, so that was my next destination.
Merivale Road was a disaster, both northbound and southbound, around the Hunt Club area. The road had completely flooded over, about waist deep, underneath a bridge at Merivale and Colonnade Road. Five cars were submerged underneath and had to be towed away. Obviously, both directions of the road were closed, which sent the area into chaos as people had to go down small roads to get back onto another route to take them where they needed to go. All of this after only about one hour of rain.
Next, I headed over to the Walkley Road area as I had heard that some residential streets were deeply flooded near Canterbury High School. Along the way, I found an intersection that was flooded at the Food Basics on Walkley. Cars were struggling through it, but it wasn’t bad enough for trucks to struggle as they just went flying by, spewing water everywhere. I watched that little flood fix itself as the drain caught up.
Next, I headed into the Elmvale Acres neighborhood. This was the worst area of my flood coverage journey. The parking lot at the Hillcrest High School was flooded deep, with a car submerged and water going inside the school itself. Water was running out of the parking lot and quickly down Hamlet Road. It flowed quite far, all the way to Saunderson Drive, which is the lowest point of the neighborhood. This area was also about waist deep, but water was going up driveways and touching houses, flooding some basements in the area.
When all was over, it rained heavy for about 5 or 6 hours straight. Some parts of the City saw over 100mm of rain in 3 hours (I had a report of 120mm in the Bank/Heron area). This was one of the wildest flash flooding events in the City of Ottawa in a long, long, long time. And since this day, there really haven’t been any storms at all. Mother nature has been giving Ottawa the break it needs after the crazy summer it’s had.