Rain pounds Montreal area, causing flooding and road closures

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Two vehicles were trapped by floodwaters under the Masson Street overpass near De Lorimier and D'Iberville streets in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough. (Joseph Rodgers/CBC - image credit)
Two vehicles were trapped by floodwaters under the Masson Street overpass near De Lorimier and D'Iberville streets in the Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie borough. (Joseph Rodgers/CBC - image credit)

Heavy rainfall flushed underpasses with up to a metre of water, caused sewers to overflow and inundated basements and at least one Metro station in southern Quebec Tuesday evening.

In Montreal, city workers closed a number of roadways due to flooding and sewer overflow. Some cars were even stuck in flooded underpasses, but no injuries were reported. The events were peppered throughout the city, though not widespread, authorities said.

By 7 p.m., nearly 60 mm of rain had fallen in downtown Montreal, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Frédérick Boulay.

Boulay said such heavy precipitation can happen a couple times a year in the area, but said Tuesday's was a lot for a short period of time.

"It's a big amount. It's impressive," Boulay said.

Environment Canada issued rainfall warnings in several areas of Quebec, which remain in effect for Montreal, the Mauricie region and Lac-Saint-Jean. In these areas, 50 to 75 millimetres of rain are expected by Wednesday morning, the federal agency said.

The rain began on the South Shore of Montreal at around 4 p.m. before converging over the island of Montreal an hour later.

The city's public transit agency, the Société de transport de Montréal (STM), said Metro cars would not be stopping at the Square Victoria-OACI station due to flooding.

Submitted by Max Honigmann
Submitted by Max Honigmann

One image posted to social media showed a pool of water at the bottom of steps to one of the station's entrances.

Montreal police said officers were on hand to help with road closures and the city's fire department said it was responding to underpass flooding as well as some flooding in people's homes.

An accumulation of water on Highway 19 forced its temporary closure northbound from Henri-Bourassa Boulevard Tuesday evening.

Two schools on the South Shore — Collège Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in Longueuil and Collège Durocher Saint-Lambert — are closed Wednesday because of flooding damage.

The city of L'Assomption north of Montreal also received heavy rainfall, with a total of 65 mm by 7 p.m., Boulay said.

Montreal spokesperson Philippe Sabourin said city workers, including police and firefighters, have been on the ground since Tuesday evening in parts of the city where flooding was worst.

Sabourin said more than 1,400 calls were made to the city's 311 service in the span of two hours. He estimates hundreds of Montrealers experienced flooding in their homes.

As part of the city's drainage plan, Sabourin says the city will invest $300 million in the next 10 years to build infrastructure capable of draining water and redirecting it from our sewers.

"These investments are extremely important in the context of climate change," he said.

The downpour hit the city just hours after Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, along with the Quebec Union of Municipalities, called for $2 billion per year to help cities adapt their infrastructure to climate change.

The rain is expected to abate by Wednesday morning, when meteorologists will be able to understand the full extent of the precipitation.

As of 7 a.m., rain has continued to fall on Montreal and its surrounding areas.