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Public security minister preaches patience as Quebec towns deal with flooding | Canadian Insurance
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Public security minister preaches patience as Quebec towns deal with flooding

The situation will likely require close surveillance for at least another week, says minister

Quebec’s public security minister asked flood-stricken communities to be patient on Tuesday as forecasts called for more rain this week.

Numerous Quebec municipalities that border streams and rivers are dealing with floods as heavy precipitation and mild temperatures have caused water levels to rise rapidly.

Martin Coiteux took stock of the situation in Shawinigan, Que., about halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.

“I understand the situation, it’s not fun,” Coiteux said. “But we have to ask citizens to be a bit patient, because I think the next few days are not going to be days when things are going to improve right away.”

Heavy rain and spring run-off have also caused some roads to wash away and sinkholes to form across the province.

Early Tuesday, two Quebec provincial police officers were injured when their patrol car fell into a sinkhole about a metre deep on a rural road in Ste-Genevieve-de-Batiscan, in central Quebec.

The 2017 flooding doesn’t match records set in 1974, but the situation remains exceptional and is expected to require close surveillance for at least another week, Coiteux said.

Two particularly hard-hit areas are Gatineau and Rigaud, just west of Montreal near the Ontario border.

Hans Gruenwald, mayor of Rigaud, said he fears the worst and urged residents to reinforce rather than remove the sandbags protecting their homes.

Rigaud was under a state of emergency earlier this spring due to flooding from the Ottawa River and the water has risen again by 10 centimetres or more in some areas since Monday.

“We are very worried by the volume of water we will be receiving in the next 24 to 36 hours,” Gruenwald told a news conference.

He said an additional 6,000 additional sandbags have been ordered for the flood-stricken town.

Gruenwald said residents should voluntarily leave their homes if roads become impassable due to flooding.

The town has resources ready to help displaced residents.