The risk of spring flooding in the Montreal area is high and officials on Monday warned residents living by the water to pack emergency kits in case evacuation orders are issued.
Martin Guilbault with Montreal’s fire department said the city is on alert as the risk of flooding is at its highest since 2019, when thousands of residents were forced from their homes in the region and across Quebec when several rivers and lakes burst their banks. People living near the Lac des Deux-Montagnes and the Riviere des Prairies are particularly at risk, the fire division chief said.
People should pack emergency kits that can sustain their families for three days, Guilbault told reporters. Kits should include drinking water, non-perishable food, a battery-powered radio, a flashlight, candles, matches, a first aid kit and a whistle.
“Citizens are asked to prepare. The citizen’s responsibility is to organize themselves to protect their home,” Guilbault said.
Officials are monitoring rivers and lakes across the province after recent warm weather in southern Quebec accelerated snow melt, followed by heavy rain in some areas. Several millimetres of rain was forecast for Monday in Montreal and more toward the end of the week, while about 25 millimetres of rain was expected in Quebec City.
Marie-Soleil Boulet-Pruneau, spokesperson for Quebec’s Public Security Department, said authorities aren’t worried at the moment about major flooding, adding that they were monitoring lakes and rivers across the province, particularly in the Laurentian, Lanaudiere and Outaouais regions. She said officials do not expect the province to be hit with flooding as serious as in 2019.
“The temperatures are expected to trend downward over the next few days, which could reduce snow melt,” she said. “If the temperatures continue to drop, the melting should become more stable.”
In 2019, about 310 communities across Quebec were affected by flooding. An estimated 9,070 homes and 273 businesses were flooded, more than 12,000 people were displaced, 82 landslides linked to the flooding were recorded and 760 roads were washed out or damaged. Officials evacuated the town of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge when it seemed a local dam would not hold. And on April 27, 2019, part of the town of Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac was evacuated after a dike broke.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada reported that claims from damage linked to the flooding in Quebec totalled $185 million.
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