National Post (National Edition)

Quebec rivers at risk of flooding

- MICHEL SABA The Canadian Press

MONTREAL • Several Quebec rivers are at risk of flooding and a preventive evacuation has been ordered on Enchantere­sse Island, north of Quebec City.

Steve Boivin, a senior adviser at Quebec’s Civil Security department, said the number of people affected by the evacuation order is not yet known.

The island, which is frequently affected by spring flooding, is part of the Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval municipali­ty, which has a total of 8,059 residents.

“The river basins in several regions of Quebec, especially those located north of the St. Lawrence River, are responding to the rain and the melting (snow) over the last few hours,” Boivin said, adding that the Quebec City region is particular­ly affected.

There, multiple rivers have been swollen by the rain, which is expected to continue for several more hours.

Civil security has been alert for two days after forecasts called for heavy rain and warmer temperatur­es, Boivin said.

“With the rain that is falling and the melting accelerati­ng, we're following the situation closely and expect other overflows.”

The warm temperatur­es have led to significan­t snow melting and broken records.

At the Massif, a ski hill in Charlevoix, northeast of Quebec City, 36 centimetre­s of snow were on the slopes on Thursday, by Friday, no more than 12 centimetre­s were left, said Environmen­t Canada meteorolog­ist Dominic Martel, who described the melting as “very considerab­le” and out of the ordinary.

In Montreal, the record high for Dec. 25 of 11.7 C, recorded in 1964. was broken with a high of 13.6 C. In Trois-Rivières, the record high of 8.9 C, also set in 1964, was broken with a high of 12.1 C.

Around 2:30 p.m., Granby, Que., was the warmest place in the country at 16.9 C.

However, temperatur­es are expected to fall back below 0 C overnight.

Boivin warned people to avoid non-essential travel, as roads are expected to become slippery.

A rainfall warning remained in effect for much of central Quebec on Friday afternoon with Environmen­t Canada warning that there is a risk of flash floods and localized flooding in lowlying areas in some parts of the province.

Between 50 and 70 millimetre­s of rain are expected in the Quebec City area, with some nearby areas expected to receive up to 130 millimetre­s by the evening.

Between 40 and 70 millimetre­s of rain are expected north of Montreal, however a rainfall warning is no longer in effect for the city itself and the regions immediatel­y north of it.

While southern Quebec is seeing warm temperatur­es and rain, Environmen­t Canada has issued blizzard warnings for three regions in the province's far north, where high winds and heavy snow are expected Saturday morning.

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