Rain in the forecast, which Environment Canada predicts will last through most of the day Wednesday, means communities around the province at risk of flooding or already under water will be watching the skies closely.
Daniel Boyer, the fire chief in Rigaud, a town just west of Montreal on the Ottawa River, said the next 12 to 36 hours will be critical.
"I think it's going to get a little worse," he said. "But it won't get as high, probably, as 2017. That's what the experts are saying."
Sunny weather over the past few days has melted more snow in river basins around the province, adding to the volume of water.
"Keep your strength, friends, because this is going to keep going," said Hans Gruenwald Jr., Rigaud's mayor. "It's going to be drawn out for several weeks before this is all over."
“The problem is responsibility is shared between a large number of actors, but the responsibilities are ambiguous enough that it’s very difficult to hold any one party accountable,” said Daniel Henstra, a University of Waterloo professor specializing in flood-management policies, and a fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
Gruenwald said nearly 200 homes in Rigaud are flooded, 56 homes have no road access, and 193 families have sought help from authorities. Fire, police and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) officials were visiting flood-prone areas in the community on Tuesday to update that count.
The CAF was using light-armoured vehicles to access regions that fire and police vehicles can't reach, Boyer said.
"Some of the people we'll see today are under a lot of stress," Boyer said. "Some of them have been cut off from the world by floodwaters for four or five days, maybe with no water and non-functioning septic systems."
As of Tuesday evening, just under 1,400 people across the province were unable to return to their homes, according to Urgences Québec. That's down from around 1,700 on Monday.
The agency said 1,941 homes in Quebec were flooded, down from around 3,152 reported earlier in the day. An additional 1,965 homes are isolated by flooding — meaning they are inaccessible by road.
For days, volunteers have been working alongside public security, municipal workers and members the Armed Forces to protect houses at risk of flooding.
There are 960 troops across the province helping out, including about 100 in the Beauce region, which has been hardest hit.
"The priority now is public safety," said Quebec Public Security Minister Geneviève Guilbault, who toured the flood-damaged town of Sainte-Marie, about 60 kilometres southeast of Quebec City, Tuesday.
"We are in an emergency situation. But we will also have to have constructive conversations on how we can avoid future flooding, as much as possible."
Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, too, has been touring neighbourhoods that are flooding or at risk of flooding for four days now.
She said residents are worried about their belongings, but have said good things about the co-ordination between the city's various emergency organizations.
Over the long weekend, there were about 50 troops in the borough of L'Île-Bizard, and another 30 on Île Bigras in Laval, helping with preventive measures.
Some roads are closed in the West Island and the bridge connecting Île Bizard to Île Mercier has been closed since Monday night. The water was knee high at certain points along the bridge Tuesday morning.
In Rigaud, about 70 kilometres west of Montreal, fire chief Daniel Boyer said a light armoured vehicle was called in to help with the evacuation of a couple who required medical attention. He said the Army vehicle was able to transport paramedics to the couples home and get them to safety.
Residents of Île Mercier can remain on the island, or they can stay at a shelter on Montée de l'Église in L'Île-Bizard, city officials said.
Fire Chief Bruno Lachance said the island won't be placed under a mandatory evacuation order. From what he's seen, the situation there is under control and emergency services are ready to respond if needed.
Joining Guilbault in Yamachiche, Brig.-Gen. Jennie Carignan said there are now 800 military members on the job throughout Quebec. She said the soldiers are well-trained for the work and are “very proud to be able to provide our support.”
The SPVM will still be serving the island using police boats, but there will be fewer resources available to those who stay.
Emergency Measures Organization director Greg MacCallum said that while the water remains above the flood stage of eight metres, levels are expected to “abate somewhat” over the next couple of days, barring any additional rain.
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Some 800 Canadian military personnel have fanned out across Quebec, filling sandbags and aiding evacuations as officials warn that warming temperatures and melting snow will bring rising flood waters this week.
Quebecers with homes built on flood plains say Premier Francois Legaults $200,000 offer to move to a home in an area that is less susceptible to flooding is far from enough to get them to relocate.
Legault made the offer on Monday while visiting a neighbourhood in Gatineau, Que., that has been flooded twice in three years. More than 3,100 homes in the province have been struck by spring flooding with more than 1,400 people forced from their homes – many of them in the same areas devastated by flooding in 2017.
The Quebec premier said that flooding compensation in the province will now be capped at a cumulative total of $100,000. The government will also be offering homeowners $200,000 to move to a new home.
Legault said that global warming requires the government to adjust its compensation programs and that the province would no longer waste the money of taxpayers to compensate people for flood damage that is likely to reoccur years later.
But residents in Pierrefonds, Que., say that $200,000 is paltry compared to the actual value of their homes and that they are not leaving.
Thats ridiculous, said Michel Cournoyer, a resident who was trying hard to pump out the four inches of water in his basement as more water was coming in. My house is worth about $350,000 so its not possible to consider that. My pension plan is here.
Cournoyer and his neighbours have banded together, filling canoes with sandbags to prevent further damage. Their worries are not just short-term. He and others living on Lozon Street worry that the same type of flooding will keep happening every few years, particularly because their neighbourhood is close to the wetlands.
Pierrefonds Mayor Jim Beis told CTV Montreal that the premiers comments are premature and that the borough should be looking at implementing long-term solutions, rather than talking about relocation.
This is a time for empathy and compassion and support, Beis said. They already lived through a crisis in 2017 and potentially they will be going through it again this year.
Just 10 minutes away from Cournoyer, Des Riviere Street is completely dry, at least for now. Beis told CTV Montreal that if not for precautionary measures to alleviate flooding brought in after 2017, that whole area would be flooded already.
Graham Hughes/CPHomes surrounded by floodwaters are shown with a view from the Ottawa River in the town of Rigaud, Que, west of Montreal on April 22, 2019.
Helene Gunville, who lives nearly 140 kilometres away from Cournoyer in Pointe-Gatineau, Que., said that after 68 years in her home and two other major floods, for the first time, she is seriously considering moving. Still, she feels that her home is worth more than what the government is prepared to offer.
This year, Im thinking about it, she told CTV Ottawa. I dont know what Im going to do.
Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said that there may be another way to keep those in the close-knit community in their homes, including raising roads.
Asking people to leave and paying them off may be higher than just building protection for the neighbourhood, he said. Its been done in Europe.
The Canadian Forces remain on site to help those homeowners who have stayed behind. Between 15 to 50 millimeters of rain are still expected to fall across the entire region.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault thanks Canadian Forces personnel as they reinforce a dike against rising flood waters Sunday, April 21, 2019 in Laval, Que. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz