Quebec’s Beauce region has so far been the hardest hit by spring flooding affecting many parts of the province, Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault said Tuesday.
Warm weather and up to 80 millimetres of rain are forecast between Thursday and Saturday in the region, which could aggravate flooding in towns across the area.
On Tuesday, Ms. Guilbault toured downtown Beauceville, located 90 kilometres south of Quebec City. She told reporters about 230 buildings are flooded in the town. Thirty-six people have had to leave their homes and six roads have been affected by the rising waters of the Chaudière River.
“Many regions across Quebec have been affected,” she said, “but it’s really here that’s most critical.”
Thomas Blanchet, a spokesman for the Public Security Department, said the water rose quickly Tuesday in downtown Beauceville after an ice jam broke free early in the morning.
He said sunny weather on Wednesday will “stabilize” the flooding for a while, but a new system bringing more precipitation and warm weather – which will increase snow melt – by Thursday risks causing more problems. “We will see how the river reacts,” he said.
André Cantin with Environment Canada said temperatures are expected to remain above freezing across much of southern Quebec over the next few days, increasing the risk of flooding.
He said authorities should also be monitoring the water levels of the Ottawa River close to the Montreal area, as up to 50 millimetres of rain are expected to fall in that region by the weekend.
Ms. Guilbault warned that an aid program announced by her government this month would have limits and require difficult choices in situations of repeated flooding.
Citing the experience of the people of Beauceville, “who are flooded year after year,” Ms. Guilbault was clear that government aid would not be endless. “Over the years, if the person is always flooded and reaches a certain maximum [of government aid] we will tell him: Either you take this last check, or we help you relocate somewhere else,” she said.