Latest: Major artery severed; soldiers arrive in Quebec
Tuesday, May 9, 2017, 7:40 AM - A child remains missing as Quebec's flood crisis deepens, with one fatality confirmed. More than 1,500 Canadian troops arrived in the hardest-hit regions on Monday, helping the province recover from widespread damage and evacuations.
Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux told reporters that water levels could peak between Monday and Wednesday. Though they should start to recede by midweek, Coiteux warned flooding will still be a problem as it will take several days for levels to stabilize.
The Quebec government announced Monday that $500,000 will be donated to the Red Cross to help those affected.
One person missing in eastern Quebec
A family of three, including a child, were travelling in the Gaspésie region when their vehicle went into floodwaters and flipped over on Sunday, according to The Globe and Mail.
The news agency says the mother was able to swim to safety, but the two-year-old child remains missing.
680 News reported early Tuesday that the body of Mike Gagnon, 37, was recovered roughly 500 metres from where a powerful current pulled the car toward eastern Quebec's Sainte-Anne River on Sunday.
A ground and air search will continue Tuesday, 680 News reports.
The ongoing flood emergency has impacted more than 140 municipalities across Quebec and has driven more than 1,500 people from their homes.
Soldiers, who are now on the ground, are assisting in sandbagging efforts in western and central Quebec, as well as in evacuating people stranded by the floodwaters.
More than 250,000 sandbags have been distributed to homeowners across Montreal, CBC reports.
"It's very cold, we have no heat." Quebec residents continue to cope with the aftermath of the floods.
Quebec's transport department closed the Galipeault Bridge in both directions Sunday, severing an important roadway and adding another wrinkle to the growing flood emergency.
Several streets and less trafficked bridges in the Montreal region were also closed, which lead dozens of schools to close their doors Monday.
The Galipeault Bridge spans the Ottawa River and links the west island of Montreal to the island. Tens of thousands of cars use the bridge to access the city daily, making it one of Montreal's busiest.
Meanwhile, Laval, Riguad and Montreal have joined the list of Quebec communities that have declared a state of emergency, with days of high waters still to come.
WATCH BELOW: Aerial survey shows extent of extreme Quebec flooding
The latest deluges have only worsened a flood crisis that has lasted for weeks in some areas.
Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre declared a state of emergency on Sunday, calling the flooding an "historic event." The Canadian Press reports Coderre made the declaration after the collapse of three dikes in the north of the city. It's expected the order will be in effect for at least five days.
The Ottawa Valley has also been badly affected. In Gatineau, where 117 mm had fallen between May 1 and May 6, hundreds of people have had to leave their homes. The city said Sunday some 180,000 sandbags have been laid down since May 1, and a little over a quarter of a million since April 18.
Federal employees working on the Gatineau side of the Ottawa River have been urged to stay home.
KEEP ON TOP OF ACTIVE WEATHER: Visit the Alerts section of the website
On the Ontario side, it's been a difficult time for communities in the Ottawa Valley, with the last round of rain tipping the balance.
On May 5, the municipality of Clarence-Rockland declared a state of emergency, while in the Ottawa Area, volunteers have been sandbagging the Constance Bay and Cumberland areas, though the capital itself has not declared a general state of emergency.
The Ottawa Citizen says around 70 homes have been affected in those areas, and Coun. Stephen Blais told the newspaper that firefighters had to rescue some residents.
Upriver, the province announced disaster assistance for communities in the County of Renfrew, which has experienced water levels a metre above normal for some days.
As for what's ahead, The Weather Network meteorologist Kevin MacKay says shower activity will remain downstream of Quebec City Tuesday and Wednesday. Water levels will remain high on many streams and rivers in Quebec, particularly the Outaouais, Laurentides and Montreal areas.
"The levels are very high on the waterways of the Outaouais/Montréal system and the situation will gradually begin to re-emerge late today or tomorrow," Quebec's Hydro Meteo agency said Monday morning. "The sectors bordering the river between Montreal and Quebec City will also continue to see spillovers occur for several days as the St. Lawrence River will see its level rise again for some time before stabilization like the upstream sectors."
Paulin Coulibaly, professor of Engineering and Geography at McMaster University and director of Floodnet, says there is a relationship between the warming of the earth’s surface and the flooding that has been seen in Ontario and Quebec.
“We have a lot of condensed water vapour in the atmosphere due to the increasing temperature and evaporation. It has to go somewhere,” Coulibaly told The Weather Network.
The professor says that an excess of water in the Great Lakes has fed what hydrologists and scientists that study the water cycle call an atmospheric river.
Leanne Diy'er added a new photo.
“Those are really flowing columns of condensed water vapour in the atmosphere," Coulibaly said. "They are not very large but they can produce a lot of rain. And this is what we are seeing [in Ottawa and Quebec]."
Coulibaly is the director of McMaster’s Climate Change Committee. He says that the emergency in Ottawa is not unexpected.
"What’s surprising to me is that people are surprised. We are more and more reluctant in accepting that the effects of climate change are here," he said.
"We have to start adapting. That’s the only option we have."
How to help
To help support ongoing immediate relief efforts, the Canadian Red Cross has launched a Spring Floods Appeal.
To donate, visit www.redcross.ca.
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With files from Hailey Montgomery, Leeanna McLean, Daniel Martins, and Daksha Rangan.