04/21/2017 04:29 EDT | Updated 04/21/2017 07:47 EDT

Quebec Floods: Hundreds Of Homes Affected By Rising Water Levels

The flooding is the worst in the region since 1998.

MONTREAL — The Quebec town of Rigaud remained under a state of emergency on Friday with about 340 homes affected by flooding due to rising water levels of the Ottawa River.

Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux signed a decree allowing emergency funding to be available for claims by local residents whose homes were damaged by the water.

Two men remove boxes from a canoe on a street in the town of Rigaud, Que., on April 20. (Photo:

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

Coiteux visited the flooded area, located just west of Montreal near the Ontario border, and said it's the worst flooding in the region since 1998.

He said people should leave their homes if asked by police.

Hillary Porter pulls her dogs along in a boat in the town of Rigaud, Que. following flooding in the area. (Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

"The provincial police are here to make sure people are safe," he said. "It's more prudent, that when we think it's time to evacuate, we think people should do that. We can't take any chances."

Coiteux said Quebec is used to some seasonal flooding but this year is different because heavy rain has caused the water levels of rivers across the province to rise and threaten homes and other infrastructure.

Water is shown on a residential street in the town of Rigaud, Que. on Thursday. (Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

"This is a special year for flooding," he said.

Coiteux said provincial police and fire officials were patrolling the town and were scheduled to visit damaged homes again on Saturday.

A man and woman use a boat to move along a street in the town of Rigaud, Que. (Photo: Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press)

He added the weather is scheduled to improve over the weekend, which should help the emergency crews on site.

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