Quebec officials on flood alert with rain in forecast

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Quebec officials on flood alert with rain in forecast

by - 3 min read

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Water levels are stabilizing in rivers across Quebec, but officials are warning residents in flood zones not to let their guards down.

“Keep your strength, friends, because this is going to keep going,” said Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. of Rigaud, just west of Montreal. “It’s going to be drawn out for several weeks before this is all over.”

Rigaud firefighters and provincial police were visiting flood-prone areas in the community on Tuesday to get an accurate count of the people who had left their homes and those who had chosen to stay.

The Canadian Armed Forces were using light-armoured vehicles to access regions that fire and police vehicles can’t reach, said Daniel Boyer, Rigaud’s fire chief.

Floodwaters surround homes in Rigaud, west of Montreal. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

“Some of the people we’ll see today are under a lot of stress,” Boyer said. “Some of them have been cut off from the world by floodwaters for four or five days, maybe with no water and non-functioning septic systems.”

Sunny weather over the past few days and rain in the forecast, which Environment Canada predicts will last through most of the day Wednesday, could change things.

“The sun melts the snow and the snow is still melting and we’re going to have rain in a couple of days,” said Martin Guilbault, a chief of operations at the Montreal fire department. “So prepare yourself. … Don’t take it for granted,” 

Streets in Rigaud remained submerged on Monday. (Simon Nakonechny/CBC)

As of Tuesday morning, just over 1,400 people across the province were unable to return to their homes, according to Urgences Quebec. That’s down from around 1,700 on Monday. 

The agency said 3,152 homes around Quebec were flooded, up from around 2,500 reported Monday; an additional 1,860 homes were isolated by flooding — meaning they are inaccessible by road — about 200 more than Monday’s tally.

As of Tuesday morning, there were no evacuation orders in place in Montreal or Laval.

For days, volunteers have been working alongside public security, municipal workers and members of the Armed Forces to protect houses at risk of flooding.

Over the long weekend, there were about 50 troops in the borough of L’Île-Bizard, and another 30 on Île Bigras in Laval, helping with preventive measures.

Parc Godin in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue has been flooded, with water levels rising over the long weekend. (Andrea Stanford/CBC)

Some roads are closed in the West Island and the bridge connecting Île Bizard to Île Mercier has been closed since Monday night. The water was knee high at certain points along the bridge Tuesday morning.

Residents of Île Mercier can remain on the island, or they can stay at a shelter on Montée de l’Église in L’Île-Bizard, city officials said.

The SPVM will still be serving the island using police boats, but there will be fewer resources available to those who stay.

This story originally appeared on CBC

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