Quebecers urged to stay alert as more than 3,100 homes flooded across province
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, April 23, 2019 1:11PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 23, 2019 5:05PM EDT
MONTREAL -- Warm temperatures and melting snow continued to threaten homes and businesses across Quebec Tuesday, forcing flood-weary Quebecers to remain on alert.
About 2,800 homes had been struck by flooding as of Tuesday afternoon, according to Public Security officials. Urgence Quebec said more than 1,400 people have been forced out of their homes across the province and some 2,100 properties remain isolated because of washed out roads or landslides.
Authorities said they expected water levels to peak by Wednesday. But flooding risks remain high across southern Quebec, particularly the corridor between the Outaouais area west of Montreal and the Beauce region south of Quebec City.
Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault visited Sainte-Marie, Que, in the Beauce area, and met with several mayors of towns affected by the overflowing Chaudiere River.
Several hundred people left their homes in that town and nearly 1,000 residences and commercial buildings were flooded. Last week, Beauceville, just down river, saw its downtown core overrun with water, hitting 230 homes and businesses.
"As you can see, the downtown of Sainte-Marie was badly hit by flooding in the last few days, as well as the Beauce region in general," Guilbault said. "It's a very sad situation and our thoughts are with citizens who've been affected or will be in the coming days."
About 350 kilometres west of Sainte-Marie, right by the border with Ontario, the mayor of Rigaud said he's warning residents to be prepared to play the long game. "It's going to be drawn out over several weeks before this is all over," said Hans Gruenwald Jr. "We wish it will be shorter, but that's what it is."
Rigaud fire chief Daniel Boyer told reporters the rain over the next few days could be telling.
"With the rain that's coming, so far, I think it'll get a little worse," Boyer said. He said experts, however, no longer believe the water will rise to historic 2017 levels. "Is it going to get worse? I hope not, but our job is to get ready for the worst."
Hundreds of Canadian troops have been deployed to Quebec and New Brunswick to help with flood relief. Soldiers are helping protect property, filling and moving sandbags, conducting wellness checks and assisting those trying to leave their homes alongside security officials.