Sunday, May 7, 2017

Serious Flooding In Montreal, Quebec, Ontario, And Great Lakes In New York

Flooding in Rigaud, Quebec. Photo by Paul Chiasson
Canadian Press
It's been a rainy several weeks here in Vermont, but it hasn't been bad enough to cause any serious flooding.  

It's another story, though, in the eastern Great Lakes and in Quebec and Ontario in Canada as a snowy winter gave way to a very rainy spring.

The Montreal area is especially hard hit. Water in Montreal Harbor along the St. Lawrence River is four feet higher than normal.

As I write this Sunday morning, it's still raining in that region.

According to the CBC the flooding is widespread in Quebec.

"As of Saturday evening, Urgence Quebec is reporting that 126 municipalities across the province are affected by rising water levels, especially in the regions of Montreal, the Monteregie, Laval, Maurice, Lanaudiere and the Laurentians."

The Ottawa River in Ontario and Quebec is also causing severe flooding.

The situation along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River system is similar to the situation we here in Vermont faced in the spring of 2011, when we had frequent river flooding, and record flooding along Lake Champlain.

Both disasters were caused by unprecedented record spring rainfall.

Along the shores of Lake Ontario near Rochester, New York, at least 11 inches of rain (or melted snow) has fallen since March 1. Around Montreal, the figure is 13 inches.

Lake Ontario is at its highest level in 20 years, causing extensive flooding and erosion damage along its New York shore. That's especially true on days like today and tomorrow, when strong north winds drive the water onshore.  
Erosion damage along Lake Ontario in Hamlin, New York.
Photo by Carlos Ortiz, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Lake Ontario empties into the St. Lawrence River, which is causing the highest water levels in Montreal and along nearly the entire length of the river in a century.

This echoes 2011, when a record high Lake Champlain emptied as always into the Richelieu River iin southern Quebec, causing severe flooding there.

In New York there are calls to open more flood gates to lower Lake Ontario levels and ease flooding. But that would worsen flooding along the St. Lawrence River in Quebec.

It's all a no-win balancing act. There has simply been way too much rain for any of these water systems to handle.

It's been a very flood prone year in North America. During the winter, there was extensive flooding in California, Oregon and Washington. This weekend, there are floods and mudslides in British Columbia that have already killed two people. 

In the past week, record flooding has slammed areas in and around Missouri. The Carolinas had severe flooding a couple weeks ago.

It goes on and on.

No comments:

Post a Comment