Rigaud launches emergency measures as Quebec cities, towns brace for flooding

The City of Rigaud is officially launching emergency measures Wednesday evening amid concerns about spring flooding.

Residents in Rigaud and Pointe-Fortune, located about 80 kilometres west of Montreal, are asked to be prepared to leave their homes as warm weather sets in and heavy rainfall is expected this week.

“The situation will evolve very quickly, according to forecasts,” said the city in a statement, adding rising floodwaters could be higher than the historic 2017 spring floods.

Officials say residents should begin protecting their properties and prepare a 72-hour emergency kit in case of flooding.

The municipality of Terrasse-Vaudreuil is also warning shoreline residents to prepare for flooding. Authorities will be distributing sandbags to properties at risk.

Montreal on high alert

Montreal’s public security officials and the city’s fire department also made the rounds near the Rivière des Prairies Wednesday to ensure residents are prepared in case of spring flooding.

The door-to-door visits are taking place Wednesday along streets which border the river in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville borough. With the change in weather, there are concerns the river could overflow.

“The city is absolutely ready,” said Rosannie Filato, the executive committee member responsible for public security.

Ahunstic-Cartierville residents like Juan Ramirez are on edge. Ramirez, whose home flooded in 2017, says he wants to see public security officials on Cousineau Street monitor the situation. He would also like to see a barricade around the river’s border.

There are no plans for barricades yet, but fire department says sandbags are being prepared. Firefighters are also monitoring the river’s water levels and they are ready to act in case of flooding.

“We’re really working with all the experts to move into response mode and put concrete measures in place,” said Richard Liebmann, deputy director of the Montreal fire department.

After the historic 2017 spring floods that forced hundreds of Quebecers from their homes, Liebmann says the department now has better mapping tools and techniques, allowing firefighters to monitor the situation and implement emergency measures.

However, he says residents who live close to the river need to take steps to protect their own property in the event of flooding and water infiltration in their homes.

“We’re fighting mother nature,” he said.

Filato said the city is aware of residents’ concerns and that preparing for flooding is a shared responsibility it takes very seriously.

“We’re all working together, so the borough, the city centre, the firefighters, to be sure that their houses and their safety is protected,” she said.

Residents with concerns about flooding or who need more information can contact the city at 311.

Flooding hits Beauce

Montreal’s move comes as flooding hits areas across the province, including the Beauce region.

The town of Beauceville, located about 90 km south of Quebec City, was hit Tuesday by rising floodwaters from the Chaudière River.

Quebec’s Public Security Ministry was on high alert after flooding forcing dozens of residents to leave their homes and the evacuations of more than 230 buildings.

The town is worried the worst is yet to come, given the warm weather and rainfall that is forecast for the weekend. It was Beauceville’s worst flood since 1971.

— With files from Global News’ Gloria Henriquez and The Canadian Press

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