Quebec calls in troops to help with flooding as wet weather wallops Ontario, heads east
Quebec’s Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux said Friday the province has asked for and will receive assistance from the Canadian Armed Forces to deal with widespread flooding as heavy rainfall continues.
“We are facing a situation where we are not only dealing with serious flooding, but the situation will continue to deteriorate for the next few days,” he said.
- Quebec to receive Canadian military assistance to deal with flooding
- Why is it flooding across Eastern Canada?
Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for much of Quebec and a rainfall warning for much of southern and eastern Ontario. New Brunswick, particularly the southern part of the province, will be in the crosshairs of the slow-moving system beginning Friday night and into Saturday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, in Montreal on Friday morning, said the federal government is closely monitoring the flood threat.
The most wide-ranging threats of flooding are in Quebec, with 124 communities in the province affected.
Urgences Québec says more than 1,326 residences in the province have been affected by flooding this week. At least 785 people across the province were forced out of their homes.
- Île Mercier residents could face ‘imminent’ forced evacuations: Coderre
- City of Montreal defends flood response
Among the hardest hit municipalities are Île Bizard, Île Mercier, Pierrefonds, Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Rigaud and Laval-sur-le Lac.
A main bridge between Île Bizard and Île Mercier is not fit for travel even for emergency officials, while some 20 residences in the area have suffered water damage, according to Martin Guilbeau, Montreal fire chief of operations.
CBC camera operator Jean-François Vachon took a ride on a hovercraft to get a closer glimpse of high water levels in the Rivière des Prairies, just off the island.
Residents said they are frustrated that the city removed their sandbags days before the waters started to rise a second time.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre said a structural assessment of the only bridge found the road surface is deteriorating.
Voluntary evacuations have been in effect, but Coderre said forced evacuations for some Île Mercier areas could be “imminent.”
Clarence-Rockland, 40 kilometres east of Ottawa, declared a state of emergency Thursday. Affected residents are being asked to leave their homes as part of a mandatory evacuation order, and a shelter has been set up at the local arena.
Volunteers from in and around the small town are helping to fill sandbags, which will be handed out to any residents in need, with businesses chipping in with food, water and necessary supplies.
North of the Ottawa River, firefighters are going door-to-door in Gatineau warning residents in affected areas of the possible dangers of staying at home.
Pearson airport officials warned passengers about delays and cancellations and advised people to check flight information before heading to the airport.
About 170 flights have been cancelled at Pearson, and inbound flights have been delayed.
The potential closure of part of the Don Valley Parkway, a major north-south artery in Toronto, had road commuters on edge, but officials said at 2:45 ET that it would remain completely open.
Trains on the Richmond Hill GO line ran smoothly Friday, despite fears that high water levels would disrupt service throughout the day.
“There were points when the water was very close to signalling the alarms,” said Vanessa Borrasa, a spokesperson for Metrolinx, but because the rain fell steadily, rather than all at once, floodwaters surrounding the track never reached a critical level.
Environment Canada said anywhere from 40 to 70 millimetres of rain for Windsor was possible from Thursday through Saturday, with up to 90 millimetres possible in Hamilton. The City of Hamilton closed a 1.5-kilometre stretch of York Road between Valley Road and Old Guelph Road in Dundas as a precautionary measure due to a damaged culvert.
Southern British Columbia
An emergency operations centre has been set up to deal with rain-caused flooding in southern B.C., where residents are being told to “evacuate immediately if in imminent danger.”
- Evacuation advisory issued as floods, thunderstorm warnings hit southern B.C.
- Cache Creek fire chief reported missing near flood waters
The Thompson-Nicola region emergency operations centre will be co-ordinating rescues and supplying sandbags for residents hit by various creek floods near Kamloops and other communities in the area.
The fire chief of Cache Creek, about 83 kilometres west of Kamloops, has gone missing after checking water flows.
RCMP said Clayton Cassidy, 59, was last seen east of the village early Friday morning checking water levels in the creek near the Brookside Campground.
New Brunswick warning
The southern areas of New Brunswick could be the hardest hit as the inclement weather heads east.
CBC meteorologist Brennan Allen said he expects the heaviest rainfall in the southwest of the province. “[In] the heaviest rain, likely from Fredericton on southwest into St. Stephen, St. Andrews, there is a chance of seeing 100 to potentially 150 millimetres of rain by the end of this weekend,” said Allen.
“We’re going to see a lot more flooding and some washed-out roads.”
Ottawa ready to send help to provinces
The federal government is keeping a close watch on severe flooding in regions right across Canada as it deploys the military to battle “historic” water levels in Quebec.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office said the formal request for help from the military came late afternoon, but details on where the troops will be sent, and in what capacity, are still being worked out. “Things are evolving rapidly,” Goodale’s spokesman Scott Bardsley told CBC.
The federal Government Operations Centre had beefed up its standby team as a precaution and is monitoring the flooding around the clock daily. The centre serves as the hub to co-ordinate the federal response to natural disasters and other emergencies.
Bardsley said the assistance provided will depend on the requests, but he noted that for the Fort McMurray wildfire, support included the Canadian Armed Forces, RCMP officers, geomatics, supplies from the Health Portfolio’s National Emergency Stockpile System and co-ordination support from the Government Operations Centre.
Goodale said yesterday the government would respond “very, very quickly” to any provincial appeal for help.
In all affected areas, residents are being warned to stay away from banks of rivers and streams and low-lying areas and to avoid driving into standing water. Homeowners are advised to ensure valuables aren’t kept in basements, to make sure catch basins and eaves are clear of leaves and debris, and to call 311 to report any flooding issues.