Quebec flood levels could reach historic highs
Officials are warning exhausted residents along Quebec's Richelieu River that flood levels could reach historic levels, forcing more from their homes.
The weather is not co-operating with efforts to contain the flooding , where the forecast is calling for more rain and high winds.
France-Sylvie Loisel, a spokesperson for Quebec's civil security service, said flood levels could rise as much as 30 centimetres over the next few days, which could rise above a century-high level mark set earlier this month.
The wind and rain is expected to send more water north from Lake Champlain into the already-swamped St-Jean-sur-Richelieu region that lies to the southwest of Montreal.
But it is the wind, which could top out at 80 kilometres an hour, that is most concerning.
"If we get the wind they're calling for Monday morning, and more rain the forecast, it looks pretty gloomy," said local business owner Randy Smith, speaking to CTV.
"We're under water pretty badly right now," he added, on the phone from his flooded campground/restaurant in the small town of Noyan. "It just makes everything that much more unbearable."
Some 210 homes are underwater in Noyan, and 100 people evacuated.
Town council member Robert Beaumier says Noyan is "used to some flooding every year, and we cope with that very well, but this is no way comparable."
Residents are eligible for government compensation, but Beaumier predicts it won't be enough for many people.
"I don't think they'll be fully compensated. You never are," in this sort of disaster, he said. "We had the government here a few days ago and people were relieved to see what kind of money they'll get back but it's still their houses that they're losing and no money compensates for that."
Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who visited the area Saturday, is calling for more Canadian soldiers to help residents in the area south of Montreal.
At one time, more than 800 troops were in the region to help residents and pile sandbags, but that number has dwindled.
Charest said Defence Minister Peter MacKay should visit the Richelieu Valley so he can better understand the situation.
More than 3,000 homes have been flooded and 1,000 have been evacuated since the flooding began about a month ago.
With files from Canadian Press