Que­bec floods: wa­ter lev­els down but heavy rain ex­pected on the weekend

Cape Breton Post - - Canada -

While wa­ter lev­els con­tin­ued their slow de­cline in some parts of Que­bec on Wed­nes­day, the province’s en­vi­ron­ment minister warned the sit­u­a­tion could de­te­ri­o­rate this weekend be­cause of heavy rain.

David Heur­tel said the cen­tral Que­bec re­gion of Mauricie is ex­pected to bear the brunt of the pre­cip­i­ta­tion.

“We’re look­ing at con­sid­er­able rain­fall on the weekend,” he told a news con­fer­ence.

“De­pend­ing on the re­gion, we’re talk­ing about 20 to 40 mil­lime­tres but in Mauricie the im­pact will be even greater, so we should ex­pect another tough weekend there.”

Heur­tel said the com­bi­na­tion of rain, melt­ing snow in the St-Mau­rice River basin and ris­ing tides could prove to be dam­ag­ing in the re­gion.

Trois-Riv­ieres res­i­dent Pa­trice Bourassa, who has been co-or­di­nat­ing vol­un­teer ef­forts in Mauricie, said cit­i­zens in some of the worst-hit re­gions are los­ing en­ergy and pa­tience.

“It’s reached the point they have to leave their homes in the morn­ing and take a ca­noe to their ve­hi­cle 500 me­tres away be­cause it’s too flooded,” he said in a tele­phone in­ter­view.

Bourassa said the Face­book page he cre­ated has al­ready drawn 1,200 mem­bers, with many spend­ing the last few days build­ing dikes, pack­ing sand­bags and help­ing cit­i­zens.

He says that while city of­fi­cials have of­fered all the help they can, some of the smaller

towns in the re­gion have fewer re­sources to deal with flood­ing.

Lev­els are ex­pected to re­main sta­ble in flooded ar­eas in the Greater Mon­treal area, where Heur­tel cred­ited the man­age­ment of wa­ter flow from the Ot­tawa River and Great Lakes basins with pre­vent­ing the sit­u­a­tion from get­ting worse.

Weekend rain isn’t ex­pected to cause a spike in Mon­tre­alarea wa­ter lev­els, Heur­tel said.

“The flow will con­tinue de­creas­ing and ul­ti­mately the rains that are go­ing to come are go­ing to slow down the de­crease,” Heur­tel said.

“We’re not look­ing at the rain­fall ris­ing the lev­els. It’s go­ing to slow down the de­crease or it’s go­ing to be main­tained at the same lev­els.”

Mean­while, Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Minister Martin Coi­teux told the same news con­fer­ence that 3,882 res­i­dences in the province have now been af­fected by the floods. Coi­teux also said 2,721 peo­ple have had to leave their homes and that there have been 126 land­slides.

In Mon­treal, fire Chief Bruno Lachance said the fo­cus is on con­sol­i­dat­ing dams and that he doesn’t ex­pect the num­ber of evac­uees to rise.

A state of emer­gency re­mains in ef­fect in Mon­treal un­til Sun­day, with Lachance say­ing 243 peo­ple have been evac­u­ated and about 400 homes flooded in the city.

The Cana­dian Red Cross has set up a re­lief fund, with the fed­eral gov­ern­ment con­tribut­ing $1 mil­lion and the Que­bec gov­ern­ment $500,000.

CP PHOTO

A flooded statue is seen next to a house on Ile Mercier on the Riviere des Prairies along the north shore of Mon­treal Wed­nes­day.

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