Beaver dam blamed for destructive flash flood on Quebec highway


On Friday, residents of Quebec’s Gaspé region witnessed the true power of a beaver dam.

At around 1:30 p.m., a beaver dam on Nichols Lake gave way, and is now being blamed for flooding out part of Highway 132. 

The small lake sits at an altitude of around 240 metres, so when the dam broke, water rushed down a steep gully and onto the highway, carrying two cars and a ton of other debris with it.

Photo courtesy of François Boulay

“Thank God nobody got hurt,” François Boulay, mayor of the nearby Ristigouche-Sud-Est, told CBC News.

The strength of the water is evident in the images that were taken of the vehicles swept up in the flood, which Boulay described as, “half-buried vertically, almost the way you’d wrap up a bag of chips when you’re finished.”

Photo courtesy of Radio-Canada

Thankfully, both of these vehicles were parked by a house next to the gully, so there were no passengers inside. Someone driving a half-ton truck did hit some of the debris, but according to reports, he was unharmed.

But as Boulay notes, if something like this were to happen when there are more cars on the road, like early morning or evening, the consequences could be much more dire.

Photo courtesy of Radio-Canada

What’s even more concerning is that a similar incident happened in 1998, which Quebec’s Transport Ministry supposedly looked into. But according to Boulay, “everybody basically dropped the ball and forgot to keep an eye on that.”

Hopefully that won’t be the case this time.