Storm surges and shoreline flooding occur when wind and atmospheric pressure move water toward the shoreline, causing very high waves and abnormal water levels. These phenomena can cause shoreline flooding and accelerate coastal erosion.
Coastal submersion occurs when land bordering the sea is flooded.
These phenomena accelerate coastal erosion, leading to shoreline and beach recession.
Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie and Îles-de-la-Madeleine residents must prepare for those hazards, as they particularly affect the shorelines in those regions.
What to do before
Prepare an emergency kit .
Prepare a family safety plan .
If you live near the sea, pay close attention to weather forecasts so that you can react quickly if conditions deteriorate.
Find out about the measures you can take to protect yourself.
Have an anti-backflow valve installed. This device can avert or reduce water damage by preventing sewage from backing up into your basement. Contact a specialist for more information.
Contact your insurer to find out about your home coverage.
In the event of a storm surge or shoreline flooding alert
If you live near a watercourse, you can monitor the flow and level of watercourses (French only) on the Vigilance website.
Follow your municipality and Urgence Québec social media feeds and consult local media outlets for information about the current situation and steps to be taken.
Protect the windows facing the St. Lawrence River using wood panels.
Place the items in your basement or ground floor on high shelves, or move them upstairs.
Store chemicals and harmful products (for example, insecticide, waste oil residue) in a safe place, out of reach of children.
If you do not have an anti-backflow valve, plug all sewer conduits in your basement.
Plug the basement drain.
Remove or secure all mobile items in your yard to prevent them from being carried away by water and becoming hazards.
If water is threatening to flood your home, shut off the power and gas to prevent electrocution or fire hazards.
Turn off the valves on propane bottles and tanks, and the outlet valve of the fuel oil tank. Have a specialist verify the integrity of the tank before turning it back on.
What to do during
Remain sheltered, follow the evolution of the situation and respect the instructions given by official sources of information (for example, your municipality, the Gouvernement du Québec).
Consult the media in your region to stay informed of the situation.
Inform the authorities of any hazardous situation, such as downed power lines on the road or heavy objects carried away by the current.
Do not try to retrieve items carried away by the waves or the current, since you could be carried away as well.
If water floods your home, consult the measures to take in the event of flooding.
If you are in danger or the authorities request it, leave your home. If you have nowhere to go, contact your municipality. For more details, consult the page Evacuation in the event of a disaster.
Before leaving, pack essential items for all members of your family:
- Personal hygiene items
- Extra clothes
- Identification documents
- Car and house keys
- Milk, bottles and diapers for infants
- Electronic devices and accessories for connecting them
- Items for the wellbeing of family members with special needs
See that domestic animals are safe or bring them to a service centre for people in a disaster if that is allowed.
Avoid travelling on foot or in a vehicle on flooded roads.
Before setting out, check road conditions on Québec 511 website or call 511.
If you must use a vehicle, drive carefully and do not hesitate to abandon it if the engine stalls.
What to do after
You may return to your home when officials have given their permission and it is safe to do so. Return home during the day when it is easier to see problems and hazards. Visit the government’s reintegration page for important advice and safety recommendations.
Take pictures or videos to document the damage to your home:
- Notify your municipality, your insurer and the financial institution that granted you a mortgage loan.
- Keep all receipts and proofs of purchase for damaged goods for your claims.
Report any abnormalities on your lot to the municipal authorities (for example, cracks on a slope, bulge on a slope, rockslide, unusual seepage of water on a bank) to prevent the risk of landslides.
If your home was flooded, consult the measures to take after a flood.
Find out whether you are eligible for financial assistance
Consult the list of disasters for which assistance may be payable (in French only) and the financial assistance and compensation program (in French only).
Other useful links
Last update: June 12, 2020