Flood alert issued in Sherbrooke, Que., due to rising river
Saint-François River level led to evacuation alerts in one part of the city
Public safety authorities in Sherbrooke, Que., have issued a flooding alert for part of the city, because the Saint-François River has risen to more than six metres.
A preventive evacuation alert was issued for about 15 homes in the area of Queen Boulevard North and Bowen Street South.
The alert could become an evacuation order if the river continues to rise.
The Red Cross is being mobilized to assist residents if an evacuation order does come. A reception centre is now open in a downtown Sherbrooke community centre but its services have not been required so far.
City authorities have also closed the municipal garage on Grandes-Fourches Street, ramps to Frontenac Street and Grande-Fourches Street and a parking lot at the SAQ in the same sector.
A number of downtown streets have been flooded and are now barricaded by police.
Bishop's University also closed for the day as a result of the flooding, forcing the cancellation of exams scheduled for today.
Students remain on campus, only parts of which have been affected by flooding.
School officials are monitoring water levels around the university, which is located where the Massawippi River meets the Saint-François River and is no stranger to spring flooding.
With more rain in the forecast, it's expected water levels in the Saint-François River and other bodies of water in the region could climb even higher and force evacuations.
The river is currently flowing high and heavy around the city, carrying with it chunks of ice and broken tree branches.
The City of Sherbrooke has set up a phone line (819-821-1928) where residents can obtain more information on flooding and evacuations.
Rivers under surveillance
Rains have helped raise water levels to preoccupying levels in around 30 rivers in southern Quebec.
Environment Canada is maintaining rainfall warnings in a number of regions including:
- The Eastern Townships
- Metro Montreal.
- Quebec City.
- The Richelieu Valley.
Up to 40 millimetres of rain were expected in those regions, and up to 60 millimetres were in the forecast for Charlevoix and regions north of Quebec City.
That rain could exacerbate flood conditions in those regions, and Environment Canada issued a warning to avoid washouts near rivers, creeks and culverts.
As of noon ET, Quebec's flood monitoring agency had flood alerts issued for the following rivers:
- L'Assomption (Saint-Félix-De-Valois).
- du Nord.
- Noire (Lanaudière).
- Châteauguay (Huntingdon).
- Nicolet and Nicolet Southwest.
- Yamaska (Brigham).
- Lac des deux montagnes.
Flood watches have also been issued for the following rivers:
- Yamaska (Farnham).
- Des Mille Îles.
- Des Prairies.
Hydrocarbon fears along the Chaudière River
There are new fears that flooding could renew the threat from hydrocarbons that settled at the bottom of the Chaudière River after the catastrophic oil spill at Lac-Megantic last year.
Communities along the river are testing the water for evidence of contamination.
See Radio-Canada's interactive map of areas on flood watch (in French):