Thursday, 17 July 2014

The Decarie flood of 1987

Top: Highway 20, one day after the July 14, 1987 storm, and still flooded.
Bottom: The flooded Decarie Expressway northbound lanes.
(Photos: Montreal Gazette)

July 14, 1987: It was 27 years ago this past Monday that a series of strong thunderstorms swept across the Island of Montreal from south to north producing over 100mm (4 inches) of rain in under 2 hours. The storms completely overwhelmed the municipal sewer systems flooding major roads and hundreds of homes. The Decarie Expressway flooded under several feet of water as did the St. Remi Tunnel, portions of Highway 20 and the Cote de Liesse highway. Not far from my Verdun home, in the suburb of LaSalle, power poles were leaning on a 45 degree angle, an indication of the powerful winds that accompanied the storms as they swept across the St. Lawrence River. The storm cut power to thousands for over 24 hours and generated nearly $200 million in damages. One fatality occurred when a motorist drowned in his vehicle in the Cote des Neiges district. Numerous homes remained without power for days in sweltering 30C heat.

I was in Long Sault, Ontario at the time enjoying a camping trip, one of the few vacations I had at that time in my life. It would be the start for me of a stretch of missing all the big weather events in Montreal, that seems to continue today. I was also out of town when the big Ice Storm of 1998 hit and most recently the flooding thunderstorms in May 2012. It is either a sad irony for a weather geek, or God's way of protecting me!

Trucks sit submerged on the Decarie northbound just past Jean Talon.
(Montreal Gazette)

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