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Quebec: Flooding turns fatal, military to provide assistance

Saturday, April 20th 2019, 2:14 pm - The province has asked for federal assistance to help mitigate flooding damage. States of emergency and evacuation orders issued for some communities.

The damaging floods in Quebec have become fatal as officials announced a woman in her 70s was killed Saturday morning in Pontiac, appproximately 50 kilometres west of Ottawa, when the vehicle she was in became submerged in a sinkhole after flood waters washed out a culvert.

A passenger in the vehicle was injured in the crash, but the extent of their injuries weren't known.

The still-existing snowpack and heavy rainfall from a series of low pressure systems is responsible for the flooding conditions. Thousands have been told to prepare for evacuation and the Canadian Armed Forces have been asked to help with the potential damages from the rising water levels. Military vehicles are en route to assist with evacuations.

States of emergencies have been declared in three municipalities in western Quebec.

More details on the flooding below.

STATES OF EMERGENCY, EVACUATION ORDERS ISSUED

On Friday, Pontiac, Saint-André-Avellin and Val-des-Monts declared states of emergency as a result of the rising waters on the Ottawa River, reported by CBC.

Four measurement stations in Quebec that are stationed along the river, between Masson-Angers, approximately 30 km east of Ottawa, and Aylmer, just west of Ottawa, are at red level. This alert indicates buildings are threatened.

In Pontiac, water levels are expected to peak Sunday, according to officials with the municipality.

Officials in Beauceville, which is to the south of Quebec City, said Saturday they expect the Chaudière River to flood shortly and have issued evacuation orders.

WIDESPREAD RAINFALL WARNINGS

Rainfall warnings cover the entire south of Quebec and stretch even north of the St. Lawrence, and some areas are set to receive as much as 75 mm by the time this all plays out, with little interruption until Sunday.

While the rainfall warning has been lifted for Montreal, the city did receive close to 40 mm of rain since Thursday, according to Environment Canada. Another 2-5 mm of rain is expected before the system moves out for Sunday.

Regions surrounding Montreal can expect to see between 15 to 25 mm of additional rain through Saturday, while the Eastern Townships will see up to 40 mm of rain.

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The relentless and heavy rainfall is raising flood fears throughout the province. With many rivers already swollen, these latest downpours could cause some to burst their banks, particularly in areas where there is still snow on the ground. All that water will find its way into the province's tributaries, raising water levels even in areas without the lingering snowpack.

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Due to the fluctuating spring temperatures and shots of colder air, the frozen ground also has a reduced ability to absorb this rainfall.

On Friday, the provincial government confirmed the Canadian Armed Forces have been asked to help with assistance to mitigate flooding impacts, which includes troops that could be deployed to areas where they are most needed to assist local authorities on the ground.

WATCH BELOW: A LOOK AT THE FLOODING IN RIGAUD WHERE CARS ARE TRAPPED

The Quebec government has also stated that some stores will be allowed to stay open on Easter Sunday to supply materials that could be needed by individuals impacted by flooding.

Laval declared a state of emergency on Thursday afternoon and over 1,500 properties nearby are at risk of flooding.

RIGAUD RESIDENTS URGED TO EVACUATE

The town of Rigaud, which is located near the Quebec and Ontario border, has advised residents to evacuate their homes ahead of this weekend washout. They anticipate these heavy rains could result in flooding worse than in the spring of 2017, when more 400 families were urged to leave.

"Almost all the houses that are near the water will be flooded or will have water damage," said Marie-Andrée Gagnon, a spokesperson for the municipality on the Ottawa River, west of Montreal in a CBC News report.

Rigaud and the neighbouring municipality of Pointe-Fortune have both launched emergency measures. Emergency officials in Montreal and Laval are also bracing for flooding, and emergency response plans have been launched in several boroughs in the western end of the Island of Montreal.

TEMPERATURE SWINGS CONTINUE

Back and forth swings in temperatures are expected to continue through the final days of April, however the blocking pattern that has been contributing to our frequent blasts of chilly weather this spring is breaking down.

"Therefore, any shots of cooler weather will not take as far below seasonal, and more warmth will show up at times. Overall, late April should end up close to seasonal," adds Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.

ICE JAM FILLS QUEBEC RIVER, CHUCKING ICE INTO ROADWAYS AND FLOODING STREETS:

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