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Record-breaking rainfall wreaks havoc on Montreal roads

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Some drivers had to abandon their cars during the afternoon commute on Wednesday after Montreal was soaked in a heavy, record-breaking downpour of rain that wreaked havoc on the roads.

The Decarie was one of the roadways that were partially closed during the rainfall, turning the expressway into a lake. Some drivers braved the deluge of rain and plowed through it while others got their vehicles stuck in the floodwaters.

Cars are stranded in a parking lot near Cote Vertu in Saint-Laurent after flash flooding on Wednesday, July 10, 2024. (Submitted photo)

The Decarie was closed between Côte-Saint-Luc Road and Highway 40 due to "water accumulation," according to the Transports Quebec 511 X account, before it was reopened several hours later.

Another major route affected by the rain was Highway 13 north, which was closed northbound between Hickmore Street and Highway 520. It has since reopened. Drivers reported being stuck in traffic for hours due to the road closures.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has the Greater Montreal Area under a rainfall warning on Wednesday as the remnants of Hurricane Beryl pass over the region. Upwards of 70 millimetres of rain is expected over southern Quebec until Thursday.

ECCC recorded 66 millimetres of rain as of 6:45 p.m., smashing the previous record of 32.5 millimetres for July 10 in 1945. 

  • Have photos or video of the downpour? Please e-mail us at montrealdigitalnews@bellmedia.caNOTE: CTVNewsMontreal.ca does not accept photos or videos taken while operating a vehicle. 

There was also some flooding of water inside the Jean-Talon metro station due to the heavy rain.

'It was total chaos': truck driver 

Roberto Piovesan was driving a 53-foot semi-trailer at around 2:30 p.m. on Cote-Vertu Road, heading East at Begin Street, when he was forced to stop due to the weather. 

"The highway was flooded and the service road was flooded," he told CTV News.

He added that the service roads were flooded as well and that he's never seen anything like it in the three decades he's been driving his truck.

Later in the day, Piovesan said he saw drivers take their chances with the floodwaters and drive through but end up getting stuck, including a motorcycle that didn't make it and a pickup truck that also got stuck. He said he initially thought there was only one person inside the pick-up, but later saw a couple and their three kids were inside.

He went to help them get out of the water before a firefighter came to their aid.

He described the scene as "total chaos," with the water as high as five feet.

Leave your car where it is: transport ministry

Several people had to be evacuated from the roof of their cars, as floodwaters rose too quickly for them to escape, said Transports Quebec spokesperson Louis-Andre Bertrand.

Most people were able to leave their vehicles safely, and there have been no injuries reported so far, he said.

The traffic is another matter: Bertrand said it will take several hours to remove vehicles and help divert drivers after the road closures caused massive gridlock throughout the Montreal area.

His advice is to leave the car where it is.

"If you can postpone – if you haven't left yet, downtown – postpone your trip," said Bertrand. "Or if you can, leave your car downtown. You should go for the metro or the train transit solutions. That'll be the fastest way to get home because right now road traffic is congested in the Greater Montreal Area."

Flight cancellations at the Montreal airport

The transport ministry says a number of roads are closed or partially closed due to the weather, including Moulins Road under the Bonaventure Expressway.

Quebec provincial police say they are aware of "major impediments" on Montreal-area roads and are monitoring them. So far, there haven't been any reports of serious collisions.

The City of Montreal also said it is closely monitoring the situation and officials are "ready to intervene if necessary." It is reminding homeowners it has tips to protect homes from heavy rain on its website.

Hydro-Quebec reported that nearly 12,000 customers were without electricity at 3:30 p.m. The bulk of the outages were in the Montérégie (6,358) and Montreal (5,250) areas, but those outages are largely over by the early evening hours. 

Many flights have been delayed and some have been cancelled at the Montreal-Trudeau International Airport. 

 

The rainfall should come to an end by 3 or 4 p.m. on Thursday. 

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