Police, public safety on alert
By Robert Frank
Alternating deep freeze and balmy weather could produce floods along the shores of Île Jésus during the coming week.
According to Laval Police Const. Nathalie Lorrain, unusual weather is turning the rivers that surround the city into a thick, supercooled slushy mix—known as frazil—rather than freezing on top.
That could block the channel and cause the rivers’ water level to rise and possibly overflow their banks.
“We will be will be following river levels closely,” Const. Lorrain told The Suburban in an interview.
Shorelines in Sainte Dorothée, Laval des Rapides and St. François are particularly at risk this weekend, when weather forecasters say that the city will be hit with a double whammy: rain combined with unusually high, above-zero temperatures that will melt the snow that has accumulated—the equivalent of a torrential downpour.
“If the water gets high enough, the city is ready to distribute sandbags,” Const. Lorrain said. “The land surrounding Lévesque Boulevard in Laval des Rapides is particularly low near the river, and the city will place sandbags there to keep the water from flooding the thoroughfare.
“The situation could be compounded by bottom freezing,” she added, “where ice forms at the bottom of the river, rather than on the surface, causing the water to well up where the channel is shallow.”
“We could be into flooding by Wednesday,” she warned. “Laval firefighters have stockpiled sandbags, in case they are needed to protect citizens.”
The city is using an amphibious boat to try to break up the slushy, sno-cone type blockages, and is paying Hydro Quebec to use its vessels to keep a channel open from near the Pont Viau bridge to its hydroelectric dam on Rivière des Prairies.
“Hydro Quebec is not obliged to provide assistance, but it has been cooperating splendidly with the city,” Const. Lorrain said.
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