Montreal to lift state of emergency on Sunday as water recedes

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Water levels are receding rapidly enough around Montreal that city officials have decided to lift the state of emergency, beginning Sunday at noon.

Montreal fire department Chief Bruno Lachance said today that, after analysis and consulting with Mayor Denis Coderre, it was decided not to renew the emergency status that was invoked last Sunday to deal with severe flooding.

Though rain is forecast for the weekend, Lachance said it was not expected to be enough to raise water levels significantly.

Large parts of Montreal’s West Island remain underwater, though residents have begun to return to their homes as the heavy precipitation of the past two weeks has finally relented.

Improvised dike in Batiscan, Que.

An improvised dike in Batiscan, Quebec’s Mauricie region. (Pascal Poinlane/Radio-Canada)

The improving weather outlook has also prompted cautious optimism in other parts of the province hit hard by flooding.

Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux cautioned it will be a slow process for residents to return home and take stock while flooding is still underway.

“We’re still in this for a number of weeks because even if the water levels recede, they are still high and will remain high for a while,” said Coiteux.

Cautious optimism in the Mauricie

Water levels dropped by a dozen millimetres in central Quebec overnight, leaving public security officials hopeful the Mauricie region will also be able to weather weekend rain without more flooding.

Around 20 millimetres of rain is forecast for the Mauricie between Saturday afternoon and Monday. Officials there were initially expecting twice as much and have been preparing for the St. Lawrence River and Lac Saint-Pierre to overflow.

Municipalities in the region have already placed sandbags along their shorelines. Canadian Forces have been helping erect dikes in Batiscan, Que., since 7 a.m. today.

“We were seeing further decreases in the water levels in some sectors of the Mauricie this morning, so that’s encouraging,” said Sébastien Doire, head of public security for the region.

“We hope the rain that is coming won’t contribute to the damage.”

Flooding has already forced the evacuation of several hundred homes in the Mauricie area.

Around Quebec, there remain 175 municipalities affected by flooding, damaging a total of 4,701 homes. Some 3,894 people have been forced to leave their homes.

Premier Philippe Couillard told residents earlier this week that soldiers will stay on the ground in Quebec as the floodwaters recede in order to help with relief effort.

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Montreal to lift state of emergency on Sunday as water recedes

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