Two significant spring storm and flooding events in eastern Ontario and western Quebec resulted in more than $223 million in insured damage, according to information from Toronto-based Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) released on Friday.
Paul Diamond checks his cottage on Lac-Saint-Pierre for flood damage, Saturday, May 13, 2017 in Yamachiche, Que.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Between April 5 and 7, a pair of low-pressure systems led to major flooding in southern Quebec and wind damage across parts of Ontario and Quebec, the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) said in a press release. Roads, homes and businesses were flooded in Quebec as rivers overflowed and sewers backed up. Following the heavy rains, strong wind gusts downed trees and power lines across many areas of both provinces, IBC said. This system caused over $106 million in insured damage.
The second event, one month later (May 5-7), led to major flooding across parts of eastern Canada after multiple days of significant rainfall. The majority of damage occurred in eastern Ontario and Quebec, with the heaviest rainfall on May 5 and 6. Some areas recorded up to 155 millimetres of rain, IBC added in the release. There were numerous states of emergency declared in southern Quebec and eastern Ontario, with thousands of residences affected and people evacuated from their homes. This system caused nearly $117 million in insured damage.
“Climate change is causing severe weather events, especially storms involving floods, to happen more frequently and with greater intensity,” said Craig Stewart, vice president of federal affairs with IBC. “While the insured damage from the spring floods is significant, the total cost to homeowners and government is not yet known.”
Stewart noted that flooding coupled with windstorms can cause significant damage in a very short amount of time. “Recent events, like Hurricane Harvey in the United States, show how unprepared we are and why it is so important for governments, industry, and consumers to work together to protect residents and communities,” he said, adding that IBC is pleased that Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale is hosting a Ministerial Round Table on Flood Risk this November in Regina.