The nearly 600 people in Sherbrooke forced out of their homes by flood waters should be able to return home by this evening, according to public officials.

Flood waters have receded to about six metres, down from a high of nearly eight metres.

Now, authorities say they will begin the cleanup operation on many of the roads and bridges that were shut when rivers overflowed their banks. 

Last night the Aylmer Bridge and King Street were reopened to traffic, though other roads are still inaccessible.

A map of street closures can be found at sherbrooke.ca.

Sherbrooke flood receding

Sherbrooke authorities say they will begin the cleanup operation on many of the roads and bridges that were shut when rivers overflowed their banks. (Ainslie MacLellan)

"I believe that the worst has passed, so we have to look at how the we can reopen most of the roads today," said Yves Vermette, director general of the City of Sherbrooke. 

Emergency officials forced the evacuations of homes and businesses because of major flooding that authorities are describing as the 'worst in years.'

About 400 people were able to go home last night, while 230 people should be able to return through the day.

GaĆ©tan Drouin, director of the Sherbrooke fire department, said homeowners are being contacted to help them assess damage and receive compensation.

Drouin is advising residents to contact their insurance companies, and take photos of any damage to their homes. 

He asks residents to call 819-821-1928 for more information.