Quebec hit by worst flooding in decades

Almost 1,900 homes in 126 Quebec municipalities have been flooded, with more than 1,000 residents leaving the affected areas, the Canadian Press reported, adding that some 1,200 troops were deployed to help evacuate local residents.

One of the hardest hit communities in the province was Montreal-area Deux-Montagnes, where some people used canoes to get around Tuesday.

A number of schools in the Montreal area are closed today due to the flooding, including some with the Lester B. Pearson School Board.

A combination of torrential rains and run-off from melting snow has caused rivers to overflow their banks from Ottawa to Montreal, posing critical challenges after weeks of seemingly unending rainfall.

Coderre first announced a 48-hour state of emergency on Sunday as over 226 homes have been evacuated of about 1,000 people in several parts of the island.

Recent rain and spring runoff have already caused a significant rise in water levels in Lake Ontario, causing some shoreline erosion and localized flooding east of downtown Toronto.

"But sometimes we need to protect people from themselves", he added.

But Coiteux couldn't say when residents who have been forced from their homes will be able to return.

In Pierrefonds-Roxboro, burst dikes have forced the evacuation of 77 houses, while residents of a further 85 in Ile-Bizard must leave.

Environment Canada said a massive system is slowly drenching much of Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes, triggering everything from contingency plans and flood warnings to states of emergency in dozens of municipalities.

"We will do daily evaluations", he said.

Goodale says the government plans to help with clean up efforts in affected communities.

Another local, Sylvie Briere, was dropped off outside her flooded home by a local man with a canoe.

A weather station northeast of Saint John, N.B., measured 155 millimetres of precipitation from late Friday to early Sunday, Environment Canada meteorologist Stephen Fougere said Sunday, adding that surrounding areas had up to 125 millimetres.

Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald Jr. ordered the mandatory evacuation of several areas, saying authorities can no longer guarantee the safety of residents.

The forecast, meantime, calls for up to 100 millimetres of rain this weekend in southwestern New Brunswick and between 25 and 50 millimetres in western Nova Scotia and parts of Labrador.

It said heavy rain associated with the storms, combined with snow melt, may lead to rising river levels and could increase the risk of flooding.

The head of Quebec's civil protection services said psychologists will be made available to speak with distressed homeowners who are victims of flooding.

  • Leroy Wright