Parts of Quebec woke up to spring flooding Tuesday, with some residents advised to leave their homes as officials continue to monitor rising lakes and rivers.
The province’s premier addressed the situation in the afternoon, telling those affected by floodwaters to not take any risks and to listen to instructions from their local officials. François Legault said the government is keeping a close eye on impacted municipalities.
“I just want to tell Quebecers there that we are going to help you. We won’t let you down,” Legault said.
Quebec’s Public Security Ministry reported significant flooding in several areas north of Montreal. Among them are Saint-Jérôme, Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts and Mont-Tremblant in the Laurentians.
The picturesque town of Mont-Tremblant, best known for its ski resorts, asked people on streets at risk of flooding to evacuate from their homes late Monday. It was a request, not an order.
In nearby St-Colomban, a bridge over the du Nord River was closed due to rising water levels.
The Lanaudière region also saw rising floodwaters near Dorwin Falls in Rawdon, while moderate flooding was reported in the Rivière L’Assomption near Joliette.
Meanwhile, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said the city has moved from alert to intervention mode. An emergency operations centre is open to co-ordinate with municipalities affected by flooding.
The good news, according to local officials, is that weather forecasts have improved.
“We’re quite confident if the weather continues this way, it should be okay for everybody,” Plante said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon.
The city is “ready to act” if needed, Plante added.
Earlier in the day, Quebec’s Public Security Ministry reported minor flooding in a few areas in the Greater Montreal area. This includes Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, at the western tip of the island, and in the Mille-Îles River near Laval.
Authorities also continued to monitor parts of Montreal’s West Island, especially in communities along the Rivière des Prairies that were hard hit by past spring floods. On Monday, the city’s fire department asked people to prepare emergency kits in case they had to leave their homes.
Further west, minor flooding had the city of Gatineau on alert. Mayor France Bélisle said nearly 40,000 filled sandbags were ready for distribution Tuesday morning, and teams already started filling up more bags.
A springtime melt and heavy rain have had the province bracing for flooding since the weekend, when warmer temperatures set in. It comes less than two weeks after an ice storm knocked out power across Montreal and Quebec, with more than 1.1 million households in the dark at its peak.
In 2019, flooding affected about 310 communities across the province, leading to evacuation orders, washed-out roads and damaged homes. More than 9,000 homes and upwards of 200 businesses were flooded, more than 12,000 people were displaced and more than 82 landslides were reported.
— with files from Global News’ Annabelle Olivier and The Canadian Press