Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Canada: flooding in Quebec forces hundreds to evacuate

The agency said the additional rain will exacerbate current flooding and advises residents near the Saint John River and its tributaries to remain on alert.

It also warns those in the effected areas to keep track of the situation via the media and Quebec's Civil Protection Organization.

It may be a while before the water levels subside, with Environment Canada calling for heavy rainfall on Friday and Saturday in several regions of Quebec.

More than 130 Quebec communities have been hit by flooding, with an estimated 1,500 homes affected and 850 people forced to evacuate.

Radio Canada showed images of rescue workers rowing boats across flooded streets to help residents in the western Quebec town of Gatineau, which neighbors Canada's capital, Ottawa.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the flooding when he held a joint news conference in Montreal with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Quebec's environment minister said Friday that rain was expected to reach record levels through the weekend.

"The impacts are going to be greater because the. conditions are already primed for flooding".

In Ontario, the eastern community of Clarence-Rockland had already declared a state of emergency in anticipation of heavy rainfalls expected to last through the weekend.

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In Atlantic Canada, some parts of New Brunswick recorded more than 150 millimetres of rain after a almost 36-hour non-stop downpour.

Environment Canada warns that some eastern Ontario communities can expect between 40 and 70 millimetres of rain.

Many have blamed the flooding on the International Joint Commission's Plan 2014, which regulates water levels on the lake and river.

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre tweeted Friday morning that as of 7:00 a.m., 450 residences in flood risk areas had been visited by emergency officials, 100 homes had been damaged and 65 residences had been evacuated.

"We are very aware of the situation around the province and monitoring it very, very closely", she said.

Environment Canada has also issued a special weather statement for a large area of southern B.C. due to the potential for severe thunderstorms, saying conditions are favourable for the development of strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.

Dozens of properties north of Kelowna were also under an evacuation order due to flooding, while sections of the Trans Canada Highway near Salmon Arm and Glacier National Park were closed due to mudslides.

Several major rivers across the province had overflowed their banks as of Thursday afternoon.

Flooding has also caused washouts of roads and bridges, as well as a rock slide near Highway 16 just east of the Alberta boundary.

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