More than 100,000 customers still without power after freezing rain in Quebec
The province's public safety minister said winds and snow were creating problems for the Hydro-Quebec crews dispatched to hard-hit regions
MONTREAL – More than 100,000 people across Quebec spent a second night without power after high winds and freezing rain on Monday left ice accumulated on trees and knocked down power lines.
As of 6 a.m. local time Wednesday, Hydro-Quebec’s website says 109,150 customers are still without power, most of them in the Lanaudiere, Basses-Laurentides and Laval regions north of Montreal.
The utility says more than 313,000 customers were in the dark at the height of the outage of Monday.
It says more than 500 crews have been “doing their best to restore power as soon as possible,” but without a break in the weather some areas may not see their service restored until Thursday.
Speaking in Quebec City on Tuesday, the province’s public safety minister said winds and snow were creating problems for the Hydro-Quebec crews dispatched to hard-hit regions.
Still, Genevieve Guilbault told reporters “the vast majority” of customers should get their lights back on early Wednesday.
Premier Francois Legault called on people to exercise caution and get in touch with their towns if they need a place to stay.
“There are many families in Quebec who risk spending a second night without electricity, so I’m asking everyone to be prudent,” Legault said Tuesday.
Officials in Laval, a densely populated suburb just north of Montreal, said Tuesday that police were patrolling the city as phone service was down in some neighbourhoods. Sylvain Gariepy, operations chief for the Laval fire department, said firefighters went door-to-door to check on seniors and other vulnerable people.
Laval Mayor Marc Demers urged families and neighbours to look out for one another. “If you have members of your family – parents, brothers, sisters – who are in a zone that’s lacking electricity, check in on their situation to make sure we’re not forgetting someone in distress,” Demers said.
Gariepy warned people of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning from barbecues and generators. Four adults and five children were taken to hospital in three separate cases after using barbecues indoors or having generators too close to their homes.
Firefighters reported high levels of carbon monoxide in the homes in each case, but no major injuries were reported.
“Another family was taken to the hospital today – three children and a mother,” Gariepy said Tuesday afternoon. “The problem we’re dealing with is people are putting barbecues in their house to heat or eat, they’re using propane stoves or putting generators too close to the house.”
The City of Laval opened up two community centres for residents needing a place to stay warm, charge phones or have a shower. About 130 people were staying at the two temporary shelters. Numerous schools were closed in the region due to the lack of electricity.