Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Another round of rain for southern Quebec

Lake St. Louis continues to run very high along the shores of L'Ile Perrot, inundating some shoreline yards. (ValleyWeather Photo)
Our record breaking wet spring continues across southern Quebec, with another shot of heavy rain expected Thursday into Friday. To date, we have recorded 92.8mm of rain at Trudeau Airport for the month of May. The normal is 81.2mm. The situation won't be helped as the week draws to close, with the arrival of two storm systems. The first is over western Canada and will move towards the Great Lakes while weakening. This storm is producing very strong winds in Alberta and Saskatchewan today, with winds exceeding 100km/h. Heavy rain and even some snow is falling in Alberta, with strong thunderstorms in Saskatchewan. Meanwhile another storm will organize along the southeast American coast Thursday. This moisture latent system will move towards southern New England, and eventually Atlantic Canada. Rain will overspread the area from south to north on Thursday and become heavy at times. The rain will taper to showers by late Friday. Expect 15-25mm (1 inch) of rain in Montreal. Friday will be much cooler, with gusty northeast winds and temperatures in the low teens. The weekend at this time look much better, with clearing skies Saturday and temperatures in the low 20s.

Of note, water levels continue to lower around the region, but remain uncomfortably high along Lake St. Louis and the St. Lawrence River. Boaters or anyone venturing close to the shoreline or using the waterway should remain vigilant. The Ottawa River meanwhile has dropped below flood stage, with rapidly improving conditions.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Strong thunderstorms followed by cooler weather

Cooler weather is on the way for the holiday weekend in Ontario and Quebec. (AccuWeather)

Severe Thunderstorm Watch in effect: Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec

The flood waters continue to rapidly recede on the Ottawa River, as the warmest air of the year to date invades southern Quebec. Our first taste of heat and humidity Wednesday, saw the mercury rise to 29.4C (85F) in Montreal, just shy of the record of 30.2C set in 1977. Thursday will be even warmer, with high temperatures expected in the low 30s. Today, we have an outside chance of the record in Montreal of 32.2C set in 1962. Sunshine will dominate most of the day, before a vigorous cold front arrives this evening. Behind the front much colder air will filter into southern Quebec, with temperatures falling back to the middle teens Friday and into the Victoria Day long weekend.

In advance of the cold front today, the St. Lawrence Valley will experience very strong southwest winds, in the 40 to 70km/h range. In addition to the wind, a line of strong to severe thunderstorms is expected to develop in Ontario this afternoon and reach southern Quebec between 6 and 8pm this evening. Some of the storms may produce heavy rain, hail and very strong winds. As of 11am Thursday morning, a severe thunderstorm watch has been posted in southern and eastern Ontario. The watch will likely be extended into Montreal this afternoon.

On Friday look for clearing skies, and much cooler temperatures, with highs near 17C (63F).

While we bake, a late spring snowstorm is blasting through the Rockies. This was the scene on Interstate 70 in Vail this morning. (CBS Denver)

Monday, May 15, 2017

Finally, sunshine and warm weather for Montreal

A flooded car remains behind in Gatineau, Quebec. Flood waters are receding, but now the daunting task of the massive cleanup begins. (CBC Photo)
The state of emergency has been lifted in Montreal.
All residents wishing to return home in the City of Montreal, must contact 311.
The flood warning for the St. Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers, remain in effect, but water levels are lowering.

As I walked my dog in the rain this morning for what seemed like the 30th consecutive day, I did so with the knowledge that the end of the ugly weather is near. A rather potent coastal storm remained far enough east of the region over the weekend, to just deliver Montreal a glancing blow. As a result, only 5 to 10mm of rain fell in the region, with no additional impacts at all to the flood situation. It was miserable weather however, with temperatures struggling to reach the low teens on Sunday. The coastal storm in question even produced a late season snowstorm for the mountains of New Hampshire, with over 50cm falling on Mount Washington. High pressure will slowly build into the region early this week, with spring weather returning, and even a taste of summer. Skies will clear out today, with temperatures rising to near 20C (68F). Tuesday through Thursday will feature sunshine and very warm temperatures, we could see upper 20's, and perhaps 30C (86F) by Thursday in Montreal. A cold front late Thursday will produce a round of showers and thunderstorms, before skies clear out on Friday.

Flood Update
The flood situation in southern Quebec is slowly improving, but a massive cleanup lies ahead. Water levels have stabilized on the Saint Lawrence River, and are lowering on the Ottawa River. The state of emergency in effect in Montreal over the last week, was lifted Sunday at noon. Most major roads are now open, as are all schools in the region. Flood waters remain in Rigaud, parts of Terrasse Vaudreuil, Ile Mercier and Pierrefonds. In Riguad, residents are still being asked to remain away from the flood zone. Municipal officials want to accompany them back to their homes, to assess the risk and damage. Nearly 130 municipalities were affected by flooding in the province, with 4500 residents evacuated. Now the massive cleanup begins, with tons of debris already deposited over the weekend in front a drying out homes and in bins set up by the City of Montreal. Nearly 2600 Canadian Armed Forces troops remain on the ground across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec assisting residents and first responders.

Friday, May 12, 2017

The dim light at the end of the weather tunnel in Montreal

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces battle flood waters from Lake of Two Mountains while trying to save a home in Laval on Wednesday. Nearly 2000 troops remain on the ground in the flood zone. (Canadian Armed Forces Photo)
The flood warning remains in effect along the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers.
A state of emergency remains in effect in Montreal, Laval, Rigaud and several other southwestern Quebec municipalities.

Donate to the Red Cross Flood Relief Fund HERE.

There is good news and bad news in the forecast. Friday will be dry, and temperatures will be on the rise next week, especially towards the holiday weekend. In between, however, we are looking at more rain and cool temperatures for southern Quebec. Low pressure will move from New Jersey into coastal New England by Sunday. Rain is forecast to develop late Saturday and persist into Sunday in Montreal. The good news for the flood zone around Montreal and Ottawa is that the heaviest rain should fall south and east of our region. However, any rain at this time is not good, and residents should remain vigilant. Leave your sandbags where they are. At this time, 15 to 25mm is quite possible in the metro region.

The historic flooding of the last two weeks is slowly on the decline, but not everywhere. Here on L'Ile Perrot and in Vaudreuil, the cleanup is beginning, with water being pumped out and roads reopened. In Notre-Dame-de-L'Ile-Perrot, 20 homes were flooded and a total of 27 evacuated. In Vaudreuil, the water level has dropped 13cm over the last 36 hours and will drop a further 10 to 20cm over the next 48. In Vaudreuil, 50 homes were flooded. The Canadian Armed Forces remain on the ground, with close to 2000 troops in the flood zone. In hard-hit Terrasse-Vaudreuil, numerous homes remain flooded and uninhabitable at this time.

On the Island of Montreal, particularly Pierrefonds and Ile Bizard as well as Ile Mercier, it is a different story. Widespread flood waters and damage remain behind, and it may be some time before residents can return and begin the cleanup. Numerous roads remain closed indefinitely. The same is true in sections of Rigaud, Gatineau and Pointe-Fortune, where major flooding remains. Evacuations are in place in badly-damaged Rigaud. The Mayor has hinted that residents who refuse to leave will be fined. The Ottawa River and tributaries in and around Montreal and Laval are on the decline, but remain above flood stage. Water levels on the St. Lawrence River are stable so far, with the river accommodating the extra flow released from the Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall, Ontario.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Flood waters on the decline but more rain in the forecast

Flood waters have inundated parts of Saint-Anne-de-Bellevue shown above. More rain is forecast this weekend. (Photo: Valley Weather)

Flood Warning remains posted for the Ottawa and Saint Lawrence Valley.

State of Emergency remains in effect for Montreal. 

Leave your sandbags full and exactly where they are for now.

Please, show respect for those suffering and stop adding water to the flood by emptying your swimming pools, regardless of where you live in metro Montreal.

The historic flooding along the Ottawa River impacting the western suburbs of Montreal and the off island communities, is starting to slowly recede. Warm sunshine filtered through high clouds on Wednesday, as municipalities began to tally up the losses. Deep water remains in many locations, with hundreds of thousands of sandbags piled feet high. Over 4000 Quebec homes have been inundated. The need remains great, donate or volunteer if you can.

On Tuesday, water levels fell just enough for the MTQ to reopen the Galipeault Bridge. The main artery along Highway 20 connecting L'Ile Perrot and Vaudreuil to Montreal, had been closed since Sunday evening. Flood waters remain high, but according to Hydro Meteo, the flood has crested and water levels are on the decline on the Ottawa River, Lake of Two Mountains, Riviere des Praires and the Milles Iles River.

Such is not the case for the St Lawrence River, where levels are at historic heights, with more water pouring into the system from a swollen Lake Ontario. The Moses-Saunders Dam in Cornwall is scheduled to be open wider this weekend to allow more water to flow into the St. Lawrence Seaway and Lac St Louis. This may have an impact on communities that have so far been spared any flooding. The water levels on Lake Ontario are the highest they have been in over 20 years.

Heavy Rain This Weekend
More rain is in the forecast late Saturday and Sunday in southern Quebec, as a strengthening storm moves along the US eastern seaboard. Depending on the exact track, a period of heavy rain and strong northeast winds is possible. Amounts are difficult at this time to pinpoint, with the system still in development, but more than 25mm (1 inch) is possible. This is of great concern to anybody battling the epic spring flooding. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Widespread damage as flood waters slowly decline

Flood waters creep onto Ile Bigras from Rivière-des-Prairies. (Photo Krissa Giotsalitis)
4:00PM UPDATE: The Galipeault Bridge to L'Ile Perrot has been completely opened in both directions.

A state of emergency remains in effect in Montreal, Laval and numerous surrounding communities. Heavy flooding continues along the Ottawa River and all the tributaries that bypass Montreal. Support for flood victims has been pouring in, in the form of food, clothing, toiletries and more. There is still a tremendous need.  If you can help, there is a drop-off point near the Sears store at the Fairview Mall in Pointe Claire.

Volunteers answered the call to fill sandbags on Ile Perrot, in Vaudreuil, on Ile Bizard and in Laval. The flooding has spread into regions along the North Shore as well, including Deux-Montagnes. Homes are flooded up to 1km from the lake. On Ile Cadieux, near Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac, the effort is ongoing, with weary volunteers packing sandbags in an epic battle to save homes. Volunteers are needed. On Ile Perrot, the situation has stabilized. Pincourt and Terrasse-Vaudreuil have packed enough sandbags thanks to volunteers, local firefighters and the Canadian Armed Forces. Over 400,000 sandbags have been filled to date across the entire flood zone.

The Canadian Armed Forces in Terrasse-Vaudreuil on Monday. (Photo: Tammy Arbour)

The Galipeault Bridge remains closed, cutting off an important artery into Montreal. Commuter delays are long, at times over 3 hours to get into the city from the west. I stayed in Montreal overnight, to avoid the travel and get some sleep. The bridge will be closed until water levels lower, and a full inspection can be carried out by the MTQ. Tolls on Highway 30 have been waived and the AMT Commuter Train on the Vaudreuil line will be free until the crisis ends.

Hundreds of homes are completely destroyed, many others have significant damage. It will be a long, slow recovery. A fund has been established with the Red Cross, with over $1 million dollars raised so far. Visit redcross.ca to donate.

The weather will remain very cold for mid-May across southern Quebec, with well-below-normal temperatures. Spotty showers and even flurries are possible through Wednesday. As flood waters slowly recede on the Ottawa River, they may be increasing on the St. Lawrence River, as water is released from the Moses-Saunders Power Dam in Cornwall.

Monday, May 08, 2017

Flood waters slowly stabilize in Montreal, Ottawa Valley

A home is inundated by by flood waters form Lake of Two Mountains, at the foot of 20th Avenue in Sainte-Marthe-Sur-Le-Lac. (Photo: Nancy Bunce)

• Flood Warning remains in effect for Montreal, Laval and the Ottawa Valley.
• State of Emergency extended in Montreal.
• Flood Relief Fund established with the Red Cross.

Here is the latest information on the Montreal flood of 2017. This is a remarkable event for the Ottawa Valley and southern Quebec, one that can only be described as a 100 year flood. The good news is that the flood waters are slowly stabilizing today. The crest is forecast to pass to the east of Montreal by Wednesday. Until then vigilance is important, as water levels are high and swift. Late Sunday, Transport Quebec was forced to close both directions of the Galipeault Bridge form L'Ile Perrot to the Island of Montreal. The rising waters were uncomfortably close to the road surface. The closure created gridlock during the Monday morning commute. Transport Quebec has not indicated when the bridge may be reopened. To alleviate traffic woes, both the AMT Commuter Train and CIT Presque'Ile Transportation were free to all. Also Highway 30 to the south shore has waved all tolls. Many other roads are closed on the West Island and in Vaudreuil.

Volunteers are still required to fill sandbags in numerous communities. Riguad, Pointe Fortune, Vaudreuil, Ile Perrot and Ile Cadieux all require volunteer assistance. Mayor Denis Coderre announced this morning that the state of emergency, currently in effect for Montreal, will be extended another 5 days. As the Ottawa River begins to stabilize, water levels are forecast to rise on the St. Lawrence River. According to Hydro Meteo, water levels should begin to drop across the entire region by late this week. Adding insult to injury this morning, were a few snowflakes in the Montreal region, a rare May treat.

To date, 2500 residences have been directly impacted by the flood in over 150 municipalities. Mandatory evacuations are being enforced today in sections of Rigaud. The SQ Police and Armed Forces are carrying these out. In Gatineau, Federal employees were told to stay home today. Back in Montreal, dozens of schools were closed, as was McGill University. There are over 1200 Canadian Armed Forces on the ground in metro Montreal, assisting residents and authorities with flood relief.

The Quebec Government has pledged half a million dollars to the Red Cross flood relief fund. Those wishing to donate can do so at this link.