Troops deployed as Canada braces for worse flooding

Posted May 19, 2017

On Friday, Quebec public security minister Martin Coiteux announced that 61 Quebec municipalities, including Montreal, Hudson, Île-Perrot and Vaudreuil-Dorion, had been added to the list of those eligible for the the province's disaster aid program, which the ministry described as "last resort" source of financial assistance for residents and municipalities that suffered flood damage not covered by insurance.

Radio Canada showed images of rescue workers rowing boats across flooded streets to help residents in the western Quebec town of Gatineau, which neighbors Canada's capital, Ottawa.

Quebec's environment minister said Friday that rain was expected to reach record levels through the weekend.

"We've been abandoned", he said. "And of course as the situation evolves we will be adjusting our efforts".

The downpours are expected to continue throughout the weekend as a massive weather system of persistent heavy rain steadily drenches the east and centre of the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was asked about the flooding when he held a joint news conference in Montreal with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

He said Ottawa has been in touch with provincial governments and is ready to provide help if it is required. The rain is expected to lessen by Saturday night, Environment Canada said on its website.

Much of eastern Canada was under siege from heavy rainfall Friday that produced major flooding.

Environment Canada has forecast rainfall totally between 50 mm to 90 mm rainfall for the greater Toronto area through Saturday.

Many have blamed the flooding on the International Joint Commission's Plan 2014, which regulates water levels on the lake and river. And while the deluge tapered off early Sunday, New Brunswick's St. John River had spilled its banks, forcing several road closures.

Environment Canada has also issued a special weather statement for a large swath of southern B.C. due to the potential for severe thunderstorms, saying conditions are favourable for the development strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.

In British Columbia, rain combined with warm temperatures that have accelerated the melting of the snowpack have resulted in flooding and mudslides throughout the province.