Heavy rain leads to flooding, evacuations in southern Quebec

The spring thaw coupled with heavy rainfall has led to never-before-seen water levels and flooding in parts of southern and western Quebec.

Water levels now stabilizing in many rivers that were under surveillance Monday

Firefighters and residents assess the flooding on Chemin de la Rivière in Val-Morin, located in the Laurentians. (Sudha Krishnan / CBC)

The spring thaw coupled with heavy rainfall has led to never-before-seen water levels and flooding in parts of southern and western Quebec.

Val-David and Rawdon are among the communities where some streets are flooded and homes have been evacuated. 

The water level in the Rivière Ouareau, which runs through Rawdon in the Lanaudière region, reached a record high, according to Pierre Corbin, the spokesperson for the body that monitors water levels in the province's rivers and lakes.

Eric Fulker, district fire chief for the Régie Incendie des Monts, said 80 homes in total are affected in the Val-Morin, Val-David and Sainte-Agathe region.

Those residences, Fulker said, have experienced flooding but their owners have not yet received evacuation orders and are staying put for now.

As of 6 p.m., the chief said eight out of 19 homes visited by his crews had been evacuated along the Chemin de la Rivière, which connects Val-Morin and Val-David.

"The water levels are exceptional this year, compared to what we've seen the last 10 or 12 years," Fulker said.

Situation in Rawdon stabilizing

Yvonne Lefort, who lives on Pontbriand Boulevard in Rawdon, was asked to leave her home last night. She said the water levels rose steadily yesterday until about 7 p.m.

Part of Route 341, also known as Pontbriand Boulevard in Rawdon, is closed after flooding caused the road to collapse. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

"This has already happened, about four or five years ago, but never to that extent," she said.

Rawdon Mayor Bruno Guilbault said, despite the high water levels, the situation has stabilized in his community.

"I was told by the people at public works that yes, there was overflowing, but things are calming down, and the sun was out, I think that's going to be a good thing, too," he said.

A number of streets in Rawdon are flooded due to high water level in the Rivière Ouareau. (Jay Turnbull/CBC)

Late Monday morning, one lane of the road, also known as Route 341, was reopened to traffic.

The Rivière du Nord has also overflowed its banks, causing flooding in Mirabel, but its levels were said to be stabilizing by Monday afternoon.

Several roads have also flooded elsewhere in the Laurentians and the Outaouais region.

Mirabel firefighters were at the scene of flooding in that city early Monday morning. (Jean-Claude Taliana/Radio-Canada)

Rivers being closely monitored

Areas from the Outaouais in the west all the way over to the Centre-du-Québec region received between 20 to 40 millimetres of rain on Sunday, which means several rivers are being monitored, Corbin said.

Those include the Outaouais, Chaudière, Milles Îles, Assomption and Richelieu rivers, Rivière des Prairies and stretches of the St. Lawrence.

Flooding was reported in the town of Sainte-Marie in the Beauce region, which borders the Chaudière River, leading authorities to close a few streets. 

However, water levels there are stabilizing, according to local authorities.

The Batiscan and Mastigouche rivers in the Mauricie region, which were also under surveillance, are also expected to stabilize over the course of Monday.

The Chaudière River is among the bodies of water being monitored by authorities. (Radio-Canada)

Corbin stopped short of saying the situation this year is exceptional, but said what's different is the length of time the water levels have been high.

"Every time we reach the point where water levels would go down, there's a rain event that maintains the high levels," he said.

Even though the rain is supposed to end today, Corbin said he expects the levels will continue to rise in the larger waterways over the next few days.

What to do if asked to evacuate

Urgence Québec, the government body that keeps citizens informed in emergency situations, issued a list of tips for those who are asked to leave their homes.

  • Take everything your family needs, such as an emergency kit, medication and prescriptions, as well as your pet.
  • Be sure to lock the doors and windows before leaving.
  • Alert municipal authorities to where you will be staying once you leave.

More Quebec news

With files from Radio-Canada