Quebecers are still on high alert as major spring flooding continues to wreak havoc across the province.
As of Tuesday morning, more than 3,100 homes across Quebec have been struck by flooding, with 1,400 people forced from their homes and 1,800 properties isolated because of washed out roads or landslides.
Quebec’s Public Security Department says it expects water levels to peak Tuesday or Wednesday, but begin to descend over the coming days.
More rain is expected in the coming days starting Wednesday, with about 15 millimetres of rain expected for the Montreal area on Friday alone.
“We’ve learned a lot since 2017 and citizens have learned a lot too,” said Bruno Lachance, director of the Montreal fire department.
“We don’t know what the weather [will be]. Ultimately, it is up to the weather and we will see how it goes, but on our end it is going very well.”
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The Canadian Armed Forces have been called in to fill sandbags and carry out evacuations where necessary.
The City of Montreal said it is looking at different ways to stop flooding in the future.
“We are talking about people’s lives,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante.
“People from different boroughs decided to come and support and it’s so touching…I think that shows solidarity. Even it is not our own house, or we are not dealing with flooding, we go and support people we don’t even know because it is hard physically, emotionally, mentally.”
About 200 homes in Rigaud, which is located 80 kilometres west of Montreal, have been evacuated due to rising floodwaters in the area.
Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. is telling residents it’s going to be a while until things return to normal as the risk of flooding in his community is likely to be drawn out over several weeks.
City officials say water levels are lower than expected, but they are advising residents who live on the Outaouais River shoreline to stay vigilant as ice and snow from the winter continues to melt.
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“Day after day, fighting the elements with no sleep, they (the residents) don’t eat well, they don’t sleep well,” said Rigaud fire Chief Daniel Boyer.
“Their condition will go down. They will crack and ask to get out of here, and that’s what we expect in the next few days.”
More than 60 homes and 27 streets are currently inaccessible as water floods the local streets.
Authorities insist that they have been preparing for the floods for a long time, having lived through the devastating 2017 floods.
The downtown cores are completely flooded in Beauceville and Sainte-Marie, where 745 people were evacuated from their homes.
Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault reiterated Tuesday how important it was for residents to listen to instructions coming from officials.
She noted it will also be important to find ways to prevent flooding in the future.
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Revenu Québec announced Tuesday residents and companies affected by the floods will not have to pay interest or penalties if they are unable to meet the April 30 tax deadline “due to this exceptional situation beyond their control.”
These measures will apply to individuals and businesses who are late filing their income tax, tax or source deductions, who are late in paying outstanding balance, or who are late in paying their installments.
Some of the hardest-hit regions from the recent heavy rainfall and warm weather include Outaouais, Gatineau, Rigaud, Laval and Pierrefonds-Roxboro.
— With files from The Canadian Press
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