Communities evacuated across Quebec as troops arrive to help with floods

Hundreds more people across southern Quebec were forced to leave their homes last night because of flooding that officials say will only increase as temperatures rise Sunday and melt more snow.

Around 600 Canadian Forces troops have been deployed across the province, with some already at work Saturday night.

“The evacuations are going well,” said Éric Houde, director of Quebec’s civil security operations. “Everyone in these regions remembers the floods of 2017 … the municipalities’ level of preparation is significant.” 

As of Sunday morning more than 1,200 people left their homes in the evacuations and almost 1,000 homes flooded, the majority of them in communities south of Quebec City, including 500 in Sainte-Marie, about 60 kilometres south of the provincial capital.

Temperatures are forecast to reach 18 C in the Montreal area, 17 C in Trois-Rivières and 15 C in Quebec City on Sunday. 

“Tonight it will be above zero in most of the areas,” Houde said. “It means the snow melt will continue.”

Troops in Bécancour Saturday night; arriving in Laval Sunday

In Bécancour, across the river from Trois-Rivières, around 20 troops arrived late Saturday night and worked until 2 a.m. putting sandbags around the town’s water filtration plant to protect the water supply from contamination.

Approximately 140 troops from CFB Valcartier arrived in Gatineau Saturday night. The soldiers will be deployed across the Outaouais on Sunday morning, Étienne Dion, a military public affairs officer, told Radio-Canada.

Troops will arrive around noon Sunday in Laval as waters keep rising in the Rivière des Prairies and the Outaouais and Mille Îles rivers, but the Montreal area has been thus far spared from major flooding. 

Roads in Laval, Île Bizard and Pierrefonds have flooded, but Urgence Québec had not reported any flooded homes in the Montreal area Sunday morning. Four people have left their homes in Laval.

The suburb of Vaudreuil-Dorion, parts of which border the Lake of Two Mountains and the St. Lawrence River, advised residents that a drone would be operating in the area to assess the situation from the air. The Montreal Metropolitan Community is also using a plane to observe the extent of flooding.

Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault said Saturday evening that troops were also being sent to Saint-André-Avelin, Trois-Rivières and Pontiac — where a 72-year-old woman died yesterday after floods washed out a road. 

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