Powerful storms that ripped through Montreal on Thursday dumped the equivalent of a month’s worth of rain on the city in just a few hours.
“Yesterday, we got nearly 75 millimetres of rain,” said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin.
“That’s the average number for all the island but the central part of the island, we noticed there was 85 mm in less than two hours.”
Sabourin explained that’s how much rain usually falls for the whole month of July and that no city in the world has the infrastructure to deal with that much water.
That was the case for Resilience Montreal, a day shelter located in the downtown core.
“We had two feet of water in our basement,” said David Chapman, the shelter’s founder and executive director.
Chapman explained how the water wasn’t from the rain as such but rather from the sewers backing up.
The sump pump, he said, was quickly overwhelmed but was kept running all night long.
“Obviously the rain stopped and the pump was slowly able to pump it all out but the damage is done at that point,” Chapman said.
Friday morning, volunteers were already hard at work cleaning up and salvaging what they could.
“What this means for us is there is an awful lot of waste,” Chapman said.
“The food truck just arrived two days ago, we spend over $10,000 a week on food, and now literally most of that food is now gone to waste.”
The basement, Chapman said, is covered in a thin layer of mud everywhere. He estimates it will take dozens of volunteers all day to clean up.
“Our basement is a disaster,” he said.
On social media, the organization put out a call for palettes, but Chapman said there is a pressing need for more help.
“People want to know what can they do. Honestly, the best thing you can do is help with money or lend a hand to help us clean up.”
— with files from Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines.