A spot of good news for those in flood-stricken areas: the weekend forecast is looking better than first anticipated.
On Thursday, parts of the Mauricie were expecting up to 59 millimetres of rain to fall, further exacerbating an already difficult situation.
Rain will fall this weekend, assured Environment minister David Heurtel, but it won’t be as bad as originally predicted.
The region could get about 25 millimetres of rain over the weekend. This still poses a problem: the rain, added to the rising tides and snow runoff will see Lake St. Pierre’s water level increase over the weekend and only start to recede by Wednesday.
Soldiers are on the ground helping mitigate the flood damage, and will stay as long as necessary.
"I want all Canadians to fully undersntand that the Canadian Armed Forces are there for them," said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.
"Our defence policy just focussed on that as well, making sure our troops have the right resources and the right number to respond to natural disasters."
Friday morning there were 187 municipalities affected:4,485 homes flooded, 3,641 evacuees, 552 roads affected, and close to 2400 soldiers deployed.
By day's end the number of towns affected had dropped, but more homes were full of water.
- 175 municipalities with flooding
- 4,701 homes flooded
- 3,894 people forced to leave
- 532 roads washed out
Outside of the Mauricie, the situation has either stabilized or improved – the further west you go, the better the situation looks.
In the Gatineau area, water levels are dropping in the Ottawa River.
In the Montreal and Laval regions, the Des Prairies River and the Mille-Iles River are also beginning to retreat. Heurtel reported that the Mille-Iles River has dropped 30 centimetres over the past few days.
Though the water flow in the Great Lakes has increased slightly, Heurtel has stressed that this should not result in an increase in the water levels in Lake St. Louis.
In a news conference from Pierrefonds Monday morning, Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and Montreal Chief Fire Inspector Bruno Lachance said officials are visiting flood-stricken homes to determine if people can be reintegrated into them.
They urged patience and waiting for the official go-ahead before anyone returns, citing health and safety risks.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux reminded those affected to attended information sessions in their region, saying so far $1,500,000 in relief money has been handed out.
Bernard Sévigny, chair of the Union of Quebec Municipalities, called on cities that have not been affected by the floods to help those who are experiencing them.
Officials also said they are speaking with emergency responders in unaffected areas, from fire departments to municipal workers, asking them to lend their expertise to those in the flood regions who have been working tirelessly throughout the disaster.
Meantime, authorities are in talks about smart rebuilding, and considering climate change and the problems floods pose for homes on the flood plains.
What we need to do is integrate climate change in the way we look at urban planning, the way we look at wetlands management, at watershed management. It’s a much broader question. It’s not about telling one person, ‘You can’t live there,’ and it’s not about kicking people out of their homes. It’s about transforming the way we do thing,” said Heurtel.
Coderre said Montreal would also study flood disaster mitigation.
“I’ve been asking to have a working group regarding urban planning. There will be some issues we’ll have to address regarding climate change and urban planning,” he said. “For those who think climate change doesn’t exist, they should take a look at this.”