Lachute residents fend off rising water as North River bursts its banks
600 more homes evacuated in Quebec since yesterday, but water levels are stabilizing in some areas
Daniel Mercier's home in Lachute, Que., is completely surrounded by water after the North River burst its banks overnight.
"We just have to wait and cross our fingers," said Mercier, who has placed sandbags around his home to help stop water from filling his service basement and invading his living space.
If that happens, he said, he will have to haul his furniture up to the second level and "get out of there."
Neighbours are trying to help each other, stay alert and keep an eye on conditions, he said. With more rain in the forecast this week, the hope is that water levels will remain stable.
The flooding is threatening homes and buildings in the town about 80 kilometres northwest of Montreal, including a seniors' residence which may eventually need to be evacuated.
I’m about 5’9” and the water is a little less than waist-deep. Still, almost everyone I’ve spoken with has managed to fend off serious flooding. <a href="https://t.co/C2MoYxVfkK">pic.twitter.com/C2MoYxVfkK</a>—@katemckenna8
On roads such as Filion Street, a few residents have canoes and rowboats parked in front of their homes, moored to railings, instead of cars.
Lachute Mayor Carl Péloquin described the flooding as the worst he has seen in more than two decades, since a devastating flood in 1998.
Officials have been in emergency mode since Saturday and the fire department has been monitoring the situation, he told CBC Montreal's Daybreak. So far, 14 buildings have been evacuated.
People are staying in their houses, he said, though a shelter has been set up for those in need of a dry place to go.
People are trying to pick up their loved ones at a seniors’ residence, currently isolated by water. Police are trying to dissuade them if it’s not urgent, citing safety reasons. The residence says the situation is under control and evacuations aren’t necessary. <a href="https://t.co/1n8PHmSiyp">pic.twitter.com/1n8PHmSiyp</a>—@katemckenna8
Résidence Le Médaillon D'Or, a senior residence located steps from the North River, has not been evacuated yet, he said, and, for now, "they are not at risk."
Here are some other key developments around Quebec today:
- The latest government figures show about 2,500 homes are now flooded across the province, nearly 600 more than Wednesday afternoon.
- Authorities evacuated homes and cottages downstream from the dam at Bell Falls on the Rouge River, 23 kilometres northwest of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, after water levels surpassed the once-in-1,000-years flood that the dam was built to withstand.
- In Laval, authorities have closed a bridge to Île Bigras because water levels have made it impassable today. Nearly 400 homes on the small island are now cut off from vehicle traffic, although people are able to leave on foot via another bridge. Knowing the closure was likely, truckloads of supplies were brought in Wednesday to assist residents who choose to stay on the island.
- In Rigaud, several dozen more families have been displaced and that number is expected to rise, according to Daniel Boyer, chief of the local fire department.
- The Bas-de-la-Rivière Road in Rigaud is so damaged that it is now impassible for all types of vehicles and residents trapped on the other side are encouraged to leave by boat.
With files from Kate McKenna and Radio-Canada