Quebec’s Public Security Ministry is warning that the hydroelectric dam at Bell Falls on the Rouge River in the western Laurentians region is at imminent risk of failure.
The ministry is advising anyone down river from the dam to evacuate the area immediately and stay far away from waterways, valleys and low-lying areas.
Quebec provincial police say the dam has reached its capacity, but as of 4 p.m. Thursday it had not broken. Around 30 residences are being evacuated, and some 250 people are being ordered to leave the area.
If the dam ruptures, it will take around 45 minutes for floodwaters to reach those buildings under the evacuation order, police said.
Police said they are using “all the means at their disposal to ensure people’s safety.”
“We are asking residents of areas affected by forced evacuations to co-operate with the authorities,” the Sûreté du Québec said on Twitter.
Bell Falls, or Chute-Bell, is about 23 kilometres northwest of Grenville, Que.,which is on the north side of the Ottawa river, across from Hawkesbury, Ont.
More to come