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Floodwaters in Quebec's Richelieu Valley expected to peak today

Montrealer Gilles Pilotte drags a inflatable raft filled with sandbags down a flooded street, to a friend's home in Saint-Paul-de-l'�le-aux-Noix, Que.,, May 22, 2011 to help her reinforce her flood barriers against an expected rise in water along the Richelieu River

Peter Mccabe/The Canadian Press/Peter Mccabe/The Canadian Press

For the third time in 45 days, floodwater in the Richelieu Valley southeast of Montreal is expected to peak today. But, unlike other high water marks this spring, flood forecasters are finally promising better days ahead.

Sunny and warm weather this week is expected to finally lower water levels around Lake Champlain and the Richelieu River, where some 3,000 people have been evacuated from hundreds of damaged homes. But first, the water is expected to rise 10 to 15 centimetres today, just short of record levels hit twice in May.

NDP Leader Jack Layton will be visiting the area today. On the weekend, Quebec Premier Jean Charest visited and announced the province would set up three task forces to organize reconstruction, find temporary homes for flood victims, and investigate how future flooding might be prevented.

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The province and federal government have spent much of the flood squabbling over the role of the Canadian military in the immediate crisis and cleanup. The province has demanded more help, while federal ministers have shot back that it's not the role of the military to clean up after such a disaster. Many in Quebec have complained the military presence arrived late and has been less than robust through the crisis.

Other provinces like Manitoba have carefully co-ordinated efforts, led by the province and bolstered by the military. Meanwhile, local organizations have signed up more than 5,000 volunteers to help clean up once waters recede. Local residents need the help. Mental health help lines are up to 100 calls a day.

Wet weather has caused misery across Canada. Farmers in the Prairies, Ontario and Quebec have barely started seeding while many others have complained about a cold wet spring. But no places have been wetter than northern British Columbia and southwestern Manitoba, where floodwaters have already receded, along with Quebec's Richelieu Valley.

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