Quebec municipalities prepare for more flooding as rain approaches
Several communities have evacuation orders underway due to rising water levels
With more rain in the forecast, municipalities across Quebec are readying shelters and bracing for more possible flooding.
In Rigaud, the town 35 kilometres west of Montreal hard hit by flooding in late April, at least 430 homes are deep in water, and a municipal official said that number is likely to climb over the next few days.
"It's already worse than it was last time," said Marie-Andrée Gagnon, Rigaud's communications director. "Homes that had water in their basements in April now have basements full of water."
As of Thursday evening, Urgence Québec is reporting that 124 municipalities across the province are affected by flooding, especially in the regions of Montreal, the Montérégie, Laval, Lanaudière and the Laurentians.
Landslide in Mauricie region
On Thursday afternoon, at least one home had to be evacuated after a landslide.
It happened in the municipality of Saint-Justin, in the Mauricie region, about 50 kilometres west of Trois-Rivières.
The clay soil in that area is known to be unstable.
Experts from the Transport Ministry's geotechnic team will try to figure out what caused the earth to give way.
According to the province's Public Security Ministry, there have been about 50 landslides in central Quebec since the beginning of April, the most ever recorded in that area.
Small islands under water on Rivière-des-Prairies
The tiny island of Île Verte, which is part of the city of Laval, is under evacuation order. City officials said the residents of all 22 homes are being told they must leave because the only bridge to the island is in danger of being washed out.
On the much larger neighbouring island of Île Bizard, firefighters are advising those who live on a number of streets that that they should leave. By midday Thursday, 10 homes had been evacuated.
On small Île Mercier, which is part of the Montreal borough of L'Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève, another 20 homes were evacuated. As of Thursday evening, some residents remained on the island and sandbags were being distributed. Firefighters and borough staff are expected to work through the night Thursday.
- LIVE BLOG | Latest on flooding in and around Montreal
Five homes have also been evacuated in Pierrefonds, in Montreal's West Island.
L'Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève borough has set up an emergency shelter at the Sociocultural Centre on Montée de l'Église that can accommodate 72 people.
L'Île-Bizard–Sainte-Geneviève borough Mayor Normand Marinacci said there's a waiting list for sandbags. One shipment of sandbags was received last night and another is on the way.
"Everybody is asking for those bags, so of course it's not easy to provide the numbers they want, but I think generally it's [going] pretty well," he said.
Marinacci said the borough is ready for the rain that's in the forecast for this weekend, which could exceed 30 millimetres in total.
In Pierrefonds, resident Andrew Szyngiel resorted to using a rowboat to get around.
Andrew Szyngiel gives me a tour of his flooded street, de Gaulle, in Pfds "I'm more angry today." <a href="https://t.co/fxL2PBLgrF">pic.twitter.com/fxL2PBLgrF</a>—@ShariOkeke
Pierrefonds-Roxboro Mayor Jim Beis told CBC Montreal's Daybreak he toured the affected area for most of the day Wednesday, and has been out with public works employees since 5:30 a.m. Thursday.
"Of course [residents are] frustrated and concerned about what's happening to their homes, and their lives at this moment," he said.
He added, however, that "they're pleased" with the work done by public works and firefighters.
City workers were out on de Gaulle Street and brought sandbags to the flooded area.
The drive through Gouin Blvd in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Pierrefonds?src=hash">#Pierrefonds</a>. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/flood?src=hash">#flood</a> <a href="https://t.co/eroNiGTFOX">pic.twitter.com/eroNiGTFOX</a>—@eliabb
Beis reiterated that while a city administrator made a "terrible decision" to order employees to destroy sandbags earlier this week, there were thousands of other bags available for the public.
Protect your homes, make emergency kits: Laval
The City of Laval is urging residents to take preventive measures to protect their homes, including creating sandbag barriers around entrance points.
Those who need sandbags can call 311 to request delivery if they need it.
- Laval warns residents to prepare as more rain expected to cause more flooding
- Flooding: What to do if it happens to you
The city is also asking residents to move their valuables to the top floor of their houses, figure out where they would go if they are forced out of their homes and to put together emergency kits with enough water and food to last 72 hours.
Local authorities are also reminding residents that the provincial government is offering financial assistance to those who are displaced and affected by flooding.
Quebec, Ottawa watching over province
Quebec's Public Security Ministry is monitoring the flooding situation across the province. The forecast calls for rain in several regions starting tomorrow.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday that the federal government is working in tandem with Quebec to offer support ahead of the weekend, and he praised the efforts of people on the ground.
"The strength of the support of neighbours and the first responders who have been there through difficult times for our communities has been excellent and is continuing to be extraordinarily valued," said Trudeau.
Thomas Blanchet, a spokesperson for Quebec's Public Security Ministry, said there could be a fair amount of precipitation, but since it won't arrive all at once the effect on water levels may not be as significant.
Blanchet said authorities are keeping a close watch on several large bodies of water, especially those in Laval, Outaouais, Laurentians, Lanaudière, and Mauricie regions that have already spilled their banks.
With files from Lauren McCallum, Shari Okeke, Radio-Canada and CBC's Daybreak