A little white house is all that remains from one of Canada's worst floods

On this day in weather history, areas in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec were flooded.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


Between July 19 and 20, 1996, flash floods hit Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Quebec. They are the biggest overland floods to hit Canada within the 20th-century.

*Saguenay, Quebec. Courtesy of TWN

Saguenay, Quebec. Courtesy of TWN

Before the floods, the area received copious amounts of rain for two weeks. The rain engorged the soils, rivers, and reservoirs. The region is located in a geological graben, a block of the earth's crust that lies between two faults. This locale heightens the effect of extreme rain.

Saguenay, Quebec - Courtesy TWN

Saguenay, Quebec. Courtesy of TWN

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According to Canadian Geographic, within those two days, it rained the "equivalent to the volume of water that tumbles over Niagara Falls in four weeks."

The area was flooded with over 2.4 m of water, completely levelling an entire neighbourhood. Over 16,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

The floods killed 10 people and caused $1.5 billion worth of damages. A post-flood survey of the area indicated that the dikes and dams protecting the area were poorly maintained.

The flash floods destroyed 488 homes and damaged 1,230.

Chicoutimi was severely impacted by the floods. There is one small white house, called "La petite maison blanche" in French, that survived the floods. It stood nearly unscathed as water rushed on all sides.

The little white house is known as a symbol of surviving the flood. The house still stands, with its foundation exposed due to damage from the floods. It's preserved as a museum commemorating the event.

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Maison Blanche Saguenay

"The little white house that survived the Saguenay Flood." Courtesy of Jean-David et Anne-Laure/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 2.0

To learn more about the Saguenay flood, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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