MONTREAL – Montreal was hit with a major downpour on Tuesday afternoon, and while it was brief, it left severe traffic disruptions, flooding and damage in its wake.
The storm began in earnest at about 5 p.m., forcing people to run for cover as the skies opened.
The city’s sewer and drainage systems were quickly overwhelmed, with water levels rising rapidly along main thoroughfares like René Lévesque St., Metcalfe St. and Ste. Catherine St. In some cases, at least a foot of water was being reported.
There were also reports on Twitter of basements, homes, office towers and other buildings, including Place Montréal Trust and buildings at McGill and Concordia universities, being inundated as water burst up through toilets and sinks.
One Twitter user reported that businesses on the first floor of the complex Les Ailes had water streaming through their ceilings. The archives room at Radio-Canada was also flooded.
At 5:30 p.m., police confirmed the Ville Marie Expressway had been shut down in the eastbound direction. Most other major highways were also flooded with several inches of water, causing huge headaches for motorists attempting to leave the downtown.
The métro system was also being affected. There were reports of partial flooding in several stations including Peel, Bonaventure and Square Victoria.
Sirens rang out through the downtown as pumping trucks were deployed to try to minimize the damage. Many office buildings appeared to be undergoing evacuations.
It is not clear exactly how much rain fell on the island before the deluge finally stopped around 5:40 p.m. The rain continued to fall in spurts, however, making clean-up and intervention efforts difficult.
Thunderstorm warnings remain in effect in areas around Montreal and tornado warnings have also been issued for several areas south of Montreal.
The public was being warned by Environment Canada that the weather system could bring large hail, damaging winds, heavy rain and intense lightning.
Montreal’s 911 emergency line was reportedly overwhelmed with calls, but as of 6:15 p.m., there were no reports of any serious injuries related to the storm or the subsequent flooding.
...................................Good Luck to our Montreal area members,- Les