Que­bec wa­ter lev­els slow to drop

Cape Breton Post - - Canada - MON­TREAL

The sit­u­a­tion in flood-stricken Que­bec ap­peared to im­prove slightly on Friday as the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment re­ported a drop in wa­ter lev­els in some ar­eas and down­graded a fore­cast for week­end rain.

But wa­ter lev­els are still ex­pected to rise in the cen­tral Que­bec re­gion of Mauricie and they re­main high in some large lakes, En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter David Heur­tel told a news con­fer­ence.

He said the Mauricie re­gion will likely get 20 to 25 mil­lime­tres of rain over the week­end in­stead of the 59 mil­lime­tres of­fi­cials had feared ear­lier this week.

“Our mod­els nev­er­the­less in­di­cate an in­crease (in wa­ter lev­els) but not as large as ex­pected,” he said.

Premier Philippe Couil­lard said he was hop­ing the sit­u­a­tion wouldn’t de­te­ri­o­rate over the week­end.

“We will breathe a sigh of re­lief on Mon­day if we haven’t had mas­sive rain and heavy over­flow,” he said at the side­lines of an event in Mon­treal.

“In the mean­time, we’re cross­ing our fin­gers.”

More than 4,480 res­i­dences have been af­fected by flood­ing and over 3,600 peo­ple have been evac­u­ated.

The city of Ri­gaud, west of Mon­treal, warned that cit­i­zens who refuse the town’s evac­u­a­tion or­der could face fines of up to $5,000.

Mayor Hans Gru­en­wald Jr. said about 19 peo­ple have re­fused to leave their homes and have been no­ti­fied that they could face penal­ties.

“They’re be­ing told some­thing by their com­mu­nity and they have to lis­ten, and if they don’t there are con­se­quences,” he told re­porters.

Pub­lic Se­cu­rity Min­is­ter Martin Coi­teux said that com­pen­sa­tion for flood vic­tims will be re­viewed and likely in­creased in some ar­eas.

He said mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties that haven’t been af­fected by flood­ing would lend tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise, hu­man re­sources and equip­ment to help with cleanup ef­forts.

“We’re pre­par­ing the re­cov­ery phase that will start ear­lier in the western ar­eas (of the prov­ince),” he said.

As flood wa­ters con­tin­ued to re­cede in Mon­treal, fire Chief Bruno Lachance warned cit­i­zens of the dan­gers they could face when re­turn­ing home.

“There are still some risks in the homes, (such as) elec­tri­cal risks, nat­u­ral gas, struc­ture,” he said, adding res­i­dents should con­tact the city for help with in­spec­tions.

CP PHOTO

Two sol­diers sit on a dam built along the Riviere des Prairies in the Pier­re­fonds bor­ough of Mon­treal, Friday.

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