46 mm of rain in half an hour floods Montreal
Published Wednesday, May 30, 2012 7:28AM EDT
MONTREAL - Schools, offices, and homes in and around Montreal were damaged Tuesday after torrential rain hit the city.
On Wednesday morning several school boards on the South Shore announced multiple schools would be closed due to flooding or other rain-caused damage.
The Marie-Victorin School Board has closed: Marie-Victorin (Pavilion L'Herbier), Helene-de-Champlain, Bel-Essor, Lajeunesse, St-Jean-Baptiste, De Normandie, Armand-Racicot, and Hubert-Perron schools.
The Riverside School Board has closed: Alternate School, St. Lambert Elementary, Chambly Academy High School.
An intense storm battered Montreal around 5 p.m. Tuesday, forcing drains to back up and roads to become unnavigable and leading to significant property damage.
Power failures, highway closed
About 28,000 homes lost electricity as a result of the dramatic storm, although most had power restored a few hours later.
The Ville Marie Expressway eastbound was flooded so badly that it had to be closed around 5:30 p.m.
A famous Olympic athlete was caught up in the mess.
"Yup," figure skater Joanie Rochette tweeted, "I've just taken a boat tour of the Ville-Marie tunnel!"
Driving throughout the downtown core mean navigating through 30 cm of water and enduring violent splashes on car windows while watching out for pedestrians hurriedly dashing through red lights in an attempt to escape the storm as soon as possible.
In other neighbourhoods, particularly those in low-lying areas, water rose high enough for people to swim in the street.
The orange metro line was forced to close temporarily and many of the city's downtown malls were closed early, including the Place Montreal Trust, which was hit by some serious flooding (see photo).
The rain slowed down just before 6 p.m. in much of the city but deep puddles remained in countless corners of the island.
Many institutions were hit by the floods, including Dawson College where the Tony Proudfoot Gym was seriously damaged by water.
"There's hardwood that extends for three gymnasiums, so the potential for costly repair is definitely there," said Geoff Kloos.
"The cleanup is going to take over the next couple of days. We're not sure about opening the college [Wednesday]. That's being looked at on an hour to hour basis."
A basement hallway at Concordia was also flooded.
Many CTV Montreal viewers sent in scenes from the flood, click here to see more.
Environment Canada said 46 millimetres of rain fell on the city in 30 minutes, and some areas received 80 mm by the end of the day.
"If we're thinking about one specific point it is very rare that we will have that type of amount more than once every 5 or ten years," said federal meteorologist Andre Cantin.
Other places had it worse.
"Some other places over the island got between 50 and 70 mm and maybe higher amount in very few minutes," said Cantin.
At the Place d'Armes metro stop near Old Montreal, the water was ankle-deep at the ground-floor turnstile -- which is well above the lower-level tracks.
Would-be commuters said they had arrived there to an improbable sight: a sheet of water spilling onto the turnstile area from the windows above.
"It was raining from the ceiling," said Allyson Haring after she navigated the ankle-deep water around the ticket booth.
Her friend said she had never seen anything like it.
"Up here if it's flooded, I wonder what is going on down there (on the tracks)," said Brenna Maciw, who was scrambling to find another way home to the city's outer suburbs.
"I feel like this is something that's going to go down in the books."
Business people hoping to take the subway skipped, hopped and sloshed through the massive puddles -- some while wearing high heels. Upon arriving, they were turned away.
Transit workers, meanwhile, tried to sop up the water with mops and vacuums.
As has happened before, Wolfe St. in Montreal's Latin Quarter produced a sewer geyser.