On Sunday night, 120 millimetres of rain fell over a short period of time over the Eastern Townships, forcing 250 residents from their homes and into an evacuation centre set up in a local high school.
Mayor Vicki May Hamm said quick collaboration between the police, the fire department, emergency workers and Quebec civil security allowed for most people to go home by morning.
With the assistance of the Red Cross, the remaining families, many of whom live in an apartment building, have been moved to a hotel.
“We helped 21 families last night, so we provide food and the hotels for three nights,” said Red Cross spokesman Carl Boisvert.
It may be a few days before some residents can go home, since a number of roads are either washed out, damaged or covered in debris.
For others, water up to their basement ceilings is preventing their return.
“Some places do have problems regularly, but most of these places never have problems with water,” said Hamm.
“It’s just because it was over such a short period, it surprised everybody. It’s not what we expected,” she said.