How vulnerable is your neighbourhood to climate change?

Montreal knows which areas are sensitive to extreme weather. Is your area one of them?

Montreal knows which areas are sensitive to extreme weather. Do you live in one of them?

Rising temperatures, longer summers and dry spells are expected to increase the frequency of extreme weather events in Montreal. (Radio-Canada)

Flooding, destructive storms, heat waves, freak rainfalls. Rising global temperatures are expected to bring more extreme weather events to Montreal over the next 100 years. And the city knows which parts of the island are the most sensitive.

Earlier this year, Montreal published a report that identifies parts of the city that are vulnerable to particular types of extreme weather events.

An area's vulnerability is a mix of structural and environmental sensitivity, the density of fragile populations (like seniors and children) and the presence of critical services, like hospitals and police stations.

The city says that very few areas are critically vulnerable, but some nevertheless face more acute threats than others.

See what they are below.

In the last 70 years, destructive storms like heavy winds, hail and ice storms have been on the rise, but forecasts for the future are uncertain.

During these storms, the most vulnerable groups are the homeless, people living alone and the elderly.

How these could affect the city

  • Damage to light posts and traffic lights
  • Electricity blackouts and car accidents
  • Damage to homes
  • Financial losses and health problems caused by limited mobility
  • Loss of tree cover

Vulnerable areas:

  • Around St. Denis Street and René-Lévesque Boulevard
  • Parc Extension along Jean Talon Street between Parc Avernue and Acadie Boulevard
  • Downtown around Concordia University

These are densely populated areas in the city with critical infrastructure like hospitals, police stations and Metro stations.

Climate models predict longer rainy periods and flash rainstorms that dump a lot of water in a short time.

How these could affect the city:

  • Damage to roads, buildings and underground structures
  • More stress on sewers and pumping stations
  • Health problems caused by mould and gastro-intestinal pathogens
  • Changes to insect populations
  • Service interruptions

Vulnerable areas:

  • Côte-Saint-Luc around Doherty Street
  • St-Leonard around Jean Talon and Lacordaire Boulevard
  • Point St. Charles by the rail yard

These are zones with many small children, senior citizens or disadvantaged families. 

And earlier and faster spring thaw could increase the frequency and severity of flooding along the Rivière-des-Prairies.

How this could affect the city:

  • Damage to roads, sewers and underground structures
  • Damage to buildings
  • Health problems caused by mould and gastro-intestinal pathogens
  • Erosion of river banks

Vulnerable areas:

  • Pierrefonds-Roxboro around Gouin Boulevard and René-Émard Street and Highway 13

These areas contain a hospital, borough hall and fire station that could be blocked by heavy floods.

Higher average temperatures could aggravate the urban heat-island effect in areas with little tree cover, resulting in extreme heat.

How this could affect the city:

  • Damage to road networks and bridges (rutting and lower adhesion of tar layer)
  • Corrosion of sewer pipes
  • Health problems caused by smog, water contamination and heat strokes
  • Economic losses due to absenteeism
  • Invasive plants and insects

 Vulnerable areas:

  • Saint-Léonard
  • LaSalle, around Newman and Thierry Streets

These are areas with few trees and large populations of senior citizens or low-income families. Note: no areas on the island have a higher than "moderate" risk of extreme heat.

Severe droughts are the least likely scenario in the study. The last great drought was in 1957, when August had a mere 2.1 millimetres of rain. Projections see longer dry periods in the summer, becoming worse between 2081 and 2100.

The biggest risk is structural. Montreal's soil is heavy in clay, which can dry up and shrink, causing damage to foundations.

How this could affect the city:

  • Damage to pavement, sidewalks and sewer systems
  • Damage to buildings
  • Health problems caused by smog and dust
  • Stress to plants and lawns, which could benefit invasive species
  • Higher risk of forest fires
  • Lower output in community gardens and urban farms

Vulnerable areas:

  • LaSalle, along Bishop Power Street and the river
  • Côte-des-Neiges, around Legare and Mackenzie Streets
  • Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, around Dickson and Pierre de Coubertin Streets