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1 dead and army called in as Que., N.B. brace for heavy flooding

1 dead and army called in as Que., N.B. brace for heavy flooding
Canada
Authorities in parts of Quebec and eastern Canada continue to brace for heavy flooding over the Easter weekend, even as rising waters have already led to one death and the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces soldiers to provide assistance in two provinces.

Officials in Quebec and New Brunswick said that the brunt of the flooding isnt expected until Saturday evening and into Sunday. They added that warm temperatures, coupled with the fact that local rivers area already swollen from melting snow could lead water levels to accelerate rapidly.

The federal government promised assistance, and Canadas Armed Forces said it would be deploying reconnaissance teams to Quebec and New Brunswick to help.

Lientenant-Colonel Sean French with the Canadian Armed Forces told CTV Atlantic that initial estimates suggest that roughly 120 troops will be deployed to New Brunswick.

On Friday, three municipalities in the Outaouais region of western Quebec Pontiac, Val-des-Monts and Saint-Andre-Avellin declared states of emergency.

In Pontiac, police said that a 72-year-old woman named Louise Seguin Lortie died on Saturday morning after driving her car into a massive sinkhole caused by flooding there. Other drivers parked nearby tried to warn her, they said, but she couldnt stop in time.

Environment Canada issued rainfall warnings for seven areas of Quebec. Rain could be heavy at times, it said, and residents should expect an additional 20 millimeters into Saturday evening, increasing the risk of flooding in low-lying areas.

In Rigaud, Que., fire chief Daniel Boyer estimates that 20 to 40 millimetres of rain have already fallen and that the water level of the Ottawa River has already increased by as many as eight inches. A portion of a highway in the area already collapsed, he said, due to erosion from water coming down a mountain.

On Chemin de la Pointe-Seguin, a long stretch of road there on the western side of the Ottawa River, theres no telling where the river ends and the road begins. In a short amount of time, many residents have already noticed a big difference in water levels.

France Duchesne doesnt live by the river, but the Rigaud resident spent Saturday using her tractor to deliver as many as 700 sand bags to those who need them.

We dont like to see people sad like that and its people from our city so we want to help them, she told CTV Montreal.

Resident William Bradley has chosen not to evacuate, hoping that the 250 sand bags he made will be enough to protect his home.

My daughter bought a boat and a motor, he told CTV Montreal.

Kevin Menard spent his Saturday helping his parents, who chose to evacuate, pack up their home. His parents didnt expect more flooding just two years after water devastated the town.

This morning we thought we had more time and the water rose so fast, he said, as he filled boxes with his parents possessions.

Earlier this week, a large part of downtown Beauceville, Que., approximately 90 kilometers south of Quebec City, was flooded after the Chaudiere River burst its banks. The area saw the worst flooding since 1971.

NOT TAKING ANY CHANCES

In Ottawa, officials said that water levels of rivers and tributaries increased over night and that some roads have been closed.

At this time, the city does not have any reports of homes being affected by the river water levels, said Laila Gibbons, director of road and parking services for the city of Ottawa.

But some residents arent taking any chances.

Sylvie Lamoine and his family have been filling sand bags since the early morning. Two years ago, their basement flooded, ruining everything.

We hope this is not going to happen, but weve seen the worst and were expecting the worst, he said.

The New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization said on Saturday that rain will continue today and that additional amounts in the range of 20 to 40 millimeters are expected overnight.

Residents in 15 communities along the Saint John River, including Fredericton, were instructed to be on high alert.

Officials are warning those who live in areas that have experienced flooding in the past to expect the same this time around. They are asking residents to voluntarily evacuate or to take preventative measures, keeping in mind that many businesses will be closed on Sunday because of Easter.

Drivers should avoid roads covered by water and obey speed limits, and residents should stay from river edges while walking, they said.

In Barkers Point, N.B., on the eastern bank of the Saint John River, residents Randall Wasson and Cassie Smardon raced to fill up sandbanks before river levels rise this evening. He and his family experienced flooding as recently as last year.

I just dont want to go through what I went through last year, Wasson told CTV Atlantic. It took two or three months of dealing with paperwork.
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