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.

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 an emergency or a disaster, you are the first person responsible for your safety (French only) and that of your family, as well as safeguarding your property. In the event of a disaster, however, municipalities are responsible for helping the people affected and for taking the necessary measures.

When a municipality's response capacity is insufficient, the Gouvernement du Québec provides assistance (French only) by deploying government resources to facilitate the return to normal, based on what is provided for in Québec’s national civil protection plan.

In the event of a storm surge or shoreline flooding alert

If you live near a waterway, monitor water levels and flow rates This hyperlink will open in a new window. on the Vigilance website (French only).

If you live near the St. Lawrence River, you can consult the tide table This hyperlink will open in a new window. for your region or the Environment and Climate Change Canada website This hyperlink will open in a new window. to find out about storm surge warnings.

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 This hyperlink will open in a new window. 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.

Leave your home if you are in danger or at the request of the authorities. If you are unsure where to go, contact your municipality. For more details, consult the government’s Evacuate your home page.

Before leaving, pack essential items for all members of your family:

  • Medications
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Extra clothes
  • Blankets
  • Money
  • 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 

Keep your pets safe or take them to the place where you are temporarily housed, if permitted.

Avoid travelling on foot or in a vehicle on flooded roads.

Before setting out, check road conditions This hyperlink will open in a new window. 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

If the authorities allow it and there is no risk to your safety, you can go home. It's best to go during the day, when problems and hazards are easier to see.

Make a list of the damage and take photos or videos as proof. Notify your municipality, insurance company and mortgage lender of the damage. For claim purposes, keep all receipts or proofs of purchase for damaged property.

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.

Financial assistance

Last update: April 18, 2023


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