Flooding closes Quebec schools as more rain expected

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The flooding that has devastated more than 140 Quebec communities is expected to worsen today as rain is forecast for much of the southern part of the province.

Dozens of schools on Montreal Island as well as to the west and north are closed. The Lester B. Pearson School Board has closed all schools, centres and daycares.

Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux told a news conference Sunday that the floodwaters, which have forced more than 1,500 residents from their homes, should gradually start to recede mid-week.

WEA Cda Flooding 20170507

A woman and man embrace on the side of a flooded street after she was evacuated from her home in the Montreal borough of Pierrefonds. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

Several municipalities, including Montreal and Laval, have already declared states of emergency and ordered homeowners to leave their properties.

“If we ask them to leave their homes, we’re doing it for their safety, we’re doing it for their health, their families, their loved ones,” said Coiteux.

He said even when the water begins to ebb, some may still be asked to clear out of their residences.

As of 10:30 p.m. ET Sunday, 146 municipalities were flooded and 1,520 people have been forced out of their homes.

Lakes and rivers in the Ottawa River watershed also continue to rise and aren’t expected to peak until later Monday at the earliest.

There are 1,200 Canadian Forces troops on the ground across Quebec to help the flood relief efforts.

Major artery shut down

The high water levels have also forced officials to close the Galipeault Bridge, which connects Île-Perrot to the Island of Montreal along Highway 20, as a preventive measure.

Pont Galipeault closed

The Galipeault Bridge, which connects Île-Perrot to the island of Montreal, will remain closed for an unspecified length of time. (CBC)

Transports Québec said water levels have nearly reached the bottom of the bridge, and it’s unknown how long it will remain closed, depending on the water level.

Motorists are being advised to stay home to limit congestion on the suggested detour routes — Highway 40 through Vaudreuil-Dorion or Highway 30.

Parts of Ontario, Atlantic Canada and B.C. also are dealing with the aftermath of heavy rain.

Some parts of eastern Ontario have also been hit hard by flooding, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the federal government was responding to a request from the Ontario government for “additional flood mitigation resources.”

Goodale noted the request did not include military help.

In Atlantic Canada, some parts of New Brunswick recorded more than 150 millimetres of rain after a nearly 36 hour non-stop downpour. While the deluge tapered off early Sunday, New Brunswick’s St. John River had spilled its banks, forcing several road closures.

Meanwhile, in British Columbia, flooding continued to plague province’s Interior.

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Flooding closes Quebec schools as more rain expected

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