Quebec storm: Evacuations in Sherbrooke after heavy rain

MONTREAL – The evacuations of 150 homes are underway in Sherbrooke, about 150 km east of Montreal, after heavy rainfall in Quebec.

Officials say the Saint-François River has risen almost 23 feet, causing significant flooding and submerging several cars.

“It’s a height that we’re not used to. It’s not a record-high water level, but it’s an amount that is affecting a lot of homes,” said Stéphane Simoneau, Sherbrooke emergency services coordinator.

Overnight, the Sherbrooke area received more than 100 millimetres of rain.

“I’ve never seen this, so I find it extraordinary to see this morning,” said Danielle Berthold, president of the public safety committee, adding that the river's levels are not as high as they were last spring.

“As you know water is a force of nature and we see today that it’s very high.”

Sherbrooke Mayor Steve Lussier says officials were already preparing their emergency response services on Thursday.

“You’re in good hands,” he reassured residents, asking that they continue to stay updated on the situation in their neighbourhoods.

Bishop's University has cancelled classes for the rest of the day and officials are asking people to stay home if they not need to go to the campus. There will be security to direct traffic.

Environment Canada issued a wind warning Friday for the Greater Montreal area, with gusts of up to 100 km/h expected.

"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur," the weather agency stated.

"Loose objects may be tossed by the wind and cause injury or damage."

Wind warnings are issued when there is a significant risk of damaging gales.

Hundreds of thousands of Quebec homes lost power Friday due to the heavy rain and intense winds.

Sherbrooke officials are warning residents to stay vigilant in case of flood.

Before water enters your home:

  • Shut off the gas by closing the tank valve,
  • Turn off the electricity by closing the main breaker,
  • Elevate as many objects as possible,
  • Plug drains to prevent sewer backups,
  • Caulk doors, windows and other areas where water may seep in,

If water starts entering your home:

  • Do not go into a flooded basement where there may be live wires or appliances,
  • Do not attempt to cut off electricity, if you have not already done so,
  • Leave your home as soon as you feel it is no longer safe, or as soon as authorities advise you to.

Residents in Sherbrooke are encouraged to visit this page to stay updated on the evacuation situation.