Flood fears lead to close monitoring of Quebec's rivers
Water levels and temperatures no cause for alarm at the moment
The spring thaw is settling in and communities around Quebec are on guard against possible flooding.
So far, officials are cautiously optimistic that this spring will not witness scenes similar to those along the Richelieu River in 2011, when communities bordering the water experienced some of worst flooding in more than century.
However, it all depends on Mother Nature and whether temperatures rise slowly and gradually in the coming weeks.
The risk of flooding increases if ice and snow melt quickly due to a quick rise in temperatures.
Ice along many rivers in Quebec is in some places 10 to 25 centimetres thicker than usual thanks to a cold and lengthy winter.
That could spell trouble if temperatures rise quickly and lead to ice jams along the rivers.
However, temperatures are expected to cooperate for now.
The forecast calls for only a slight rise in temperature over the coming days and 15 millimetres of rain.
Officials are also keeping a close eye on the spring melt in the Adirondacks south of the Canadian border, which was a key factor in the 2011 floods along the Richelieu River.
“If the ice in the US is melting in the Adirondacks, melting fast, that’s a problem,” said Stéphane Dumberry, director of the fire department in Chambly, just south of Montreal.
Environment Canada, however, says water levels are lower this year, so far.
Officials will continue to monitor those levels closely over the coming weeks.