Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval, a town north of Quebec City, has ordered residents to leave their homes on Christmas Day due to imminent flooding from a nearby river.
Civil security agencies have been monitoring Quebec’s rivers overnight after an intense weather system brought significant amounts of rain to southern parts of the province.
Sainte-Brigitte-de-Laval Mayor Carl Thomassin said water levels for the Montmorency River, which flows through the town, could be record-breaking.
“The river water levels are very, very high, and they’re going to keep rising,” he said. “We’re strongly encouraging people to leave their homes and reach out to the Red Cross if needed.”
“We want this operation to be done calmly, so we decided to take action before it became too late.”
Around 100 homes in the Île Enchanteresse area were evacuated.
According to city director and emergency measures co-ordinator Marc Proulx, it’s considered a flood when the water level reaches 550 cubic metres per second.
By 1 p.m. ET on Friday, river water levels were at 300 cubic metres per second.
Proulx said the river could reach over 750 cubic metres per second in the next hours, surpassing its 617 cubic metres per second record.
“The end of the day will be critical,” he said.
Rising waters threaten bridges
With water levels increasing on the Jaune River in Lac-Beauport, three bridges, including the Chemin de L’Éperon, the Chemin du Brûlé and the Chemin des Mélèzes face a threat of flooding, according to the town’s mayor, Michel Beaulieu.
“The problem with those bridges is, for residents living in the mountains, that’s their only way to get home,” Beaulieu said.
Roads in the nearby area of Lac Blue were inaccessible to residents due to the flooding, but the mayor said despite the continued rain, he isn’t worried.
“The people are used to floods,” Beaulieu said. “We’re taking matters seriously, but it’s encouraging to know that the rain should stop in the next few hours.”
“We’re not in a critical situation, but let’s say this isn’t ideal for Dec. 25.”
In a tweet, Deputy Premier Geneviève Guilbault shared that public security teams are working with municipalities to oversee emergency measures.
Environment Canada’s rainfall warning of flash floods and localized flooding in low-lying areas of Quebec remained in effect on Friday afternoon.
Between 50 and 70 millimetres of rain was expected in the Quebec City area, with some nearby areas expected to receive up to 130 millimetres by Friday evening.