Water levels on the Ottawa waterways are remarkably variable this year. For the last couple of weeks they've seemed low, the Rideau Canal drained in advance of winter, the Rideau River showing its muddy bed along the edges, ducks' footprints showing, but this morning it's different, river water lapping over the roots of the trees. We are at the end of a "significant rain event", with two weather systems merging, one from the southeast and one from the south (the remnants of Tropical Storm Philippe). At the Ottawa airport, winds are gusting to 45 knots today (85 kph). This wet and windy weather is reminiscent of the thunderstorms and micro-burst at the end of last month that had a shocking number of large trees down along the John A. MacDonald Parkway near Westboro, near the Ottawa River, and in the vicinity of the Britannia Yacht Club.
During thundery weather conditions, storms sweep southeastwards down the Ottawa Valley from Pembroke, more or less following the course of the river, but cyclones (low pressure systems full of moisture) more usually come from the south east. The famous Ice Storm of January 1998 was one such depression.
This morning, a parking lot near Billings Bridge was deep underwater, and 9000 Ottawa households were without power. Close to our house, under the St. Patrick Street bridge, the cycle track (Rideau River Eastern Pathway) was underwater, just as it usually is during the spring thaw.