Residents of Yamachiche are used to minor flooding. Nothing like what they’ve seen this week, of course, but bordering Lac St-Pierre, a wider part of the St. Lawrence River, many of the homes are prepared. Some have escaped damage, propped up by concrete or wooden beams.
The community declared a state of emergency two days ago. Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who was in Yamachiche on Thursday, said his biggest concern was someone potentially suffering a medical emergency during the flooding.
The area’s 75 homes and cottages have all been evacuated, but residents are regularly returning to check on their properties, so social workers are touring the area by boat once or twice a day.
“I’ve come pretty much everyday,” said resident Serge Gagnon. He explained that there were few high waves on Friday and rocks near the shoreline are protecting his cottage. “It’s encouraging,” he said.
Residents were expecting the worst to come with heavy rainfall this weekend, but the forecast is looking better. Still, the environment minister says the region is not out of the woods yet.
“We’ll still have to deal with the tides. We still have to deal with the important flow of water from Riviere St-Maurice, but everything put together, we’re looking at a slighter increase in the levels of Lac St-Pierre,” said Environment Minister David Heurtel.
The head of the fire department says the area can handle a little rain.
Yamachiche firefighters have been among the first on the scene since the flooding began, working 12-hour days for more than a month. With the weather finally improving, sandbags in place and the wind calm, Friday was their slowest day yet.