More rain, floods and heatwaves... What's Mother Nature have for Montrealers?


Was this past spring's historic flooding a one off? Or could it be the new normal for the Montreal and surrounding area?

According to Environment Canada, a number of current theories have Montreal winters getting milder and wetter.

"White Christmas may not be so frequent in the coming 20 or 30 years in Quebec," meteorologist Amelie Bertrand told CTV Montreal.

The anticipated effects of global warming will cause winter to start later and finish earlier, which could feel like relief to those who just can't stand when Old Man Winter comes to town, but it will also bring more summer heatwaves. As temperatures rise oceans will continue to heat up, meaning more water evaporates into the atmosphere.

"When it does rain we might experience more intense rainfalls than we're used to," said Eyad Atallah, a research associate with McGill University's Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department. "So we could see more rain over a shorter period of time." 

With intense rainfalls, and milder winters it could be a recipe for more flooding like many areas saw in the spring.

"We're used to dealing with many massive snow storms in Montreal but now we have to get used to dealing with less snow, more rain and more cycles of freezing and unfreezing," said city spokesperson Philippe Sabourin.

Part of the city's action plan for climate change includes new infrastructure to help with all the concrete and pavement; surfaces unfavorable for absorbing water.

Eco-retention basins will be created, acting like a large natural sponge during major rainfalls. The basins work by filtering accumulated water into a green space where it can be absorbed into the ground.

Sabourin said there are already a couple basins around the city, but more will be built by 2020.


Stay up-to-date and in-the-know by subscribing to one of our newsletters