A broken water main unleashed a torrent.

A torrent of brown water surged through the streets of Montreal yesterday afternoon, sweeping residents off their feet and making the center city an impassable web of churning moats.

The cause, officials said, was the rupture of a four-foot water main, which flooded intersections, basements and garages downtown at around 4:30 p.m. At least three people were swept off their feet. Peter Rakobowchuk and Nelson Wyatt of the Canadian Press write that residents did their best to carry on:

Philippe Whitford, a 38-year-old program analyst, gave new meaning to the term double-bagging: he wrapped himself in two layers of green plastic bags and made his way through the knee-deep water outside his building.

But the temperature was in the mid-teens, so in addition to freezing water, Montrealeans face the prospect of serious ice build-up. Two people were hospitalized for slipping on the ice. Evening classes at McGill University, near the epicenter of the floods, were cancelled, and several streets remained closed to traffic into the night.

How bad could it be? This is what happened when a McGill student tried to cross the street:

Here's more downtown footage, via the CBC:

Top image: Screenshot, via CBC.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Life

    Say Goodbye to Spain's Glorious Three-Hour Lunch Break

    Catalonia plans to shorten work hours—but don’t call it the end of the siesta.

  2. Environment

    Let's All Swim in the Once-Filthy Canals of Paris

    Unlike many cities, the French capital has made good on its promise to re-open urban waterways to bathers. How did they do it?  

  3. Uber drivers sit in their cars waiting for passengers.
    Equity

    What Uber Drivers Say About Uber

    Researchers conducted in-depth interviews and discovered a lot about the pitfalls of working in the rideshare business.

  4. Design

    What's Inside a Neighborhood in a Box?

    On the outskirts of New York City, a new housing model aimed at Millennials asks: What is city living?

  5. Transportation

    Honolulu's Rapid Transit Crisis

    Traffic in Hawaii’s capital is terrible, but construction on a rail system may now cost as much as $13 billion while alleviating road congestion by as little as one percent.