Spring thaw prompts surveillance of Quebec's waterways

Spring thaw prompts surveillance of Quebec's waterways

As the spring thaw begins in earnest, authorities are closely monitoring water levels in rivers across Quebec.

The main trouble spots are north and west of Montreal, where there is more snow and ice than in areas south of the island.

The water levels will continue to rise slowly due to the warmer temperatures and rain in the forecast, said Pierre Corbin, founder of the organization that monitors the rivers across the province.

Hydro-Météo is watching the Lake of Two Mountains, the L'Assomption, des Prairies and Mille Îles rivers and the St. Lawrence River near Lac Saint-Pierre among other places, Corbin said.

In the Outaouais, Laurentians, Lanaudière and Chaudière-Appalaches regions, the weather will cause ice in the rivers to start breaking up, which happens every year. But if that ice jams, that may cause issues.

Corbin said the situation that led to the Rivière des Chiens, which runs through the Blainville, Rosemère and Sainte-Thérèse, spilling its banks, was something of a perfect storm.

"We had a lot of rain, we're talking 40 to 80 millimetres north of Laval, and that fell on river basins that are small," he said.

Combine that with melting snow and rising water levels in the Milles Iles River and there was nowhere for the excess water to go.