Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Montreal flooded by raging river

MONTREAL—A river raged through a section of downtown Montreal yesterday as a watermain break flooded a section of the city core.
The water barrelled down the slope of Mount Royal, with some people struggling to avoid being swept away by the mighty current.

The flood began spreading near McGill University just before rush hour, prompting traffic jams as police re-routed cars and people struggled to escape the area.
Some people wrapped themselves in garbage bags to protect their lower body from the ice-cold water as they crossed submerged streets.
At one intersection, where the flooded area was narrow, people moved a sidewalk bench and used it as a bridge to get to the middle of the street.
Philippe Whitford, a 38-year-old program analyst, gave new meaning to the term double-bagging: he wrapped himself in two layers of green plastic bags and made his way through the knee-deep water outside his building.
While he felt cold—the temperature was minus-nine C—he was grateful that he managed to stay dry.
His concerns quickly shifted to this morning. As the break was contained by mid-evening, and the water was largely cleared away, an emerging problem was ice build-up.
With a slippery film quickly forming across the area, parts of Ste-Catherine Street risk being temporarily transformed into an urban skating rink.
“It’s going to be a mess when this all freezes,” Whitford, who works for a finance company, said of today’s commute.
The streets thickened with ice as firemen stabbed at drain openings with pike poles to get the water to go in.
There also were large road graders pushing the water around trying to get it to disperse.
City officials said the flood was caused by a 90-cm watermain that broke at a construction site near downtown, and said they were working to fix the problem.

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