Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Climate Change Behind the Worst Flooding Ever in Quebec

Image credit: Radio-Canada / Ivanoh Demers
Quebec has experienced the worst flooding in the recorded history of the province and climate change played a role. More than 10,000 people have been forced from their homes. On the island of Montreal 94 residences were flooded, 49 were surrounded by water and 55 were evacuated. In nearby Ste-Marthe-sur-le-Lac 6,000 people were forced to evacuate after a dike was breached last weekend. The flooding left more than one third of the homes in the small town under water.

On April 25th, 50 people were forced from their homes downriver of the Bell Falls dam on the Rouge River due to concerns that the dam could collapse. At least 1,000 Quebercers are currently in the care of the Red Cross. About 100 volunteers and more than 30 staff are providing support in 11 municipalities and are monitoring the needs of 22 other communities. Flooding has also impacted hundreds of people in New Bruswick and Ontario.

People whose homes were inundated must decide whether or not they want to rebuild in an area that has seen two once in a hundred years floods in the span of three years. Only two years ago another once in a hundred years flood ravaged parts of southern Quebec. 

The floods were caused by heavy rains and melt-water but as reported by the Guardian, climate change played a role. Laura Coristine, a biologist at the University of British Columbia said both rapid temperature increases and huge variation in the amount of precipitation are climate change related phenomenon that make catastrophic flooding more common.

There is good reason to believe that these floods will keep getting worse as the climate warms.

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