Many Quebecers will spend Christmas without electricity because of the storm
Many Quebecers will likely spend Christmas without power as a severe winter storm hits Quebec and Ontario, causing numerous power outages, road closures, multiple vehicle collisions, and airport delays and cancellations.
At a news conference late Friday afternoon, Hydro-Quebec executive vice president Éric Filion said it was “difficult to give customers who are out of power recovery time,” adding that Hydro-Quebec is aiming for “the majority.” of customers to reconnect”. Sunday evening.”
However, he added that unfortunately some customers won’t have power until Monday or Tuesday.
Hydro-Quebec reported that about 378,000 of its customers were without power around 12:45 a.m. Saturday. The regions of Capitale-Nationale, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Montérégie, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Mauricie and Côte-Nord are most affected.
“It is important to mention that the weather event is still ongoing, so there are new outages, and we are of course working as quickly as possible, but always with concern for the safety of our employees, but also of the public,” said Hydrdro Vice President -Quebec.
“Obviously there is a lot of snow and rain, heavy snow that has fallen on the vegetation and on our power cables, causing outages. We also have strong winds, gusts of more than 100 km/h,” said Eric Filion.
Pour comprendre les priorités de rétablissement lors d’une panne d’electricité. pic.twitter.com/WqYNArGbGF
— Hydro-Québec (@hydroquebec)
December 24, 2022
As of Friday, 1,100 workers were on site across the province.
“We also have support teams, including logistics, accommodation, catering for our employees and customer service teams, as well as our communications teams, so I want to thank them for their professionalism,” added Filion.
Environment Canada has issued weather warnings of heavy snow, strong winds and freezing rain for much of Ontario and Quebec.
“This is a very strong storm, one of the strongest in a long time,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault.
“We’ve seen everything Americans have experienced in the past few days,” and “the same weather phenomenon that caused this is now having an impact here,” Legault said.
Transport Quebec spokesman Alexandre Vigneault said early in the afternoon that roads in the Capitale-Nationale and Abitibi regions were particularly affected by the weather.
“If you look at the Abitibi side, 117 in La Verendrye Park, it’s completely snowed up and visibility is limited in many places so that can cause some problems,” he said.
Highways 113 and 177, which connect Abitibi to Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, were closed Friday afternoon, as were 175 and 169 at the Laurentian Wildlife Reserve, and visibility on Highway 138 along the river was near Quebec City equals zero.
Transport Quebec recommends downloading the Quebec 511 application to stay up to date with current events on the road network.
Due to the storm, Operation Nez Rouge has suspended its drive-home services in these areas: Alma, Argenteuil, Joliette in Lanaudière, Mont-Laurier, Pays-d’en-Haut, Quebec City, Roberval, Shawinigan.
Après la pluie, le verglas et la neige se mettent de the party!
With the low temperature sous 0, the rises in the formation of plaques in glace on the route sont plus grands. Si vous devez vous deplacer, redoublez de prudence et gardez vos distances. pic.twitter.com/rmAX3O9lfv
— Transports Quebec (@Transports_Qc)
December 23, 2022
HIGH WINDS, FLOODING IN QUEBEC CITY
In the Quebec City area, total snow accumulations “could reach 50 centimeters in mountainous terrain,” Environment Canada said.
According to the Public Safety Flood Monitoring Agency, the Saint Lawrence River exceeded the low flood level in the Port of Quebec on Friday and reached the high flood level late in the afternoon.
“At the height of the tide around 6 p.m., the station at Old Quebec broke a record for high water levels set in 1931 (23 feet)! The new record now stands at 7.157m,” Environment Canada said on Twitter on Friday.
In the evening, the Quebec City Public Safety Department said it had received more than “600 dangerous structure-type calls” and “more than 230 electrical hazard-type calls.”
Quebec City received three times the daily average 911 calls. In particular, there were 18 calls about traffic accidents, but no one was seriously injured.
Snow Gusts WARNING in effect from Eastern Townships to Bas-Saint-Laurent Region! The passage of the strong cold front causes snow gusts that reduce visibility to almost zero. Be careful on the roads as conditions change quickly! #QCstorm pic.twitter.com/OGcUxHO9Ae
— ECCC Weather Quebec (@ECCCWeatherQC)
December 24, 2022
ICY STREETS IN MONTREAL, SNOW IN THE 450
Environment Canada reported that “temperatures are expected to drop rapidly” in the Montreal area.
As a result, “surfaces such as roads, streets, sidewalks and parking lots could become icy and slippery. There could be a significant impact on rush-hour traffic in urban areas.”
According to Environment Canada, the Montérégie, Laurentian and Lanaudière regions had already received 30 centimeters of snow by mid-morning.
The wind was also strong and reached up to 90 km/h in Montreal in the afternoon.
Transport Quebec reported numerous road accidents and a multitude of disabled vehicles on freeways in the metro area on Friday.
OVERFLOWS IN THE EAST
In eastern Quebec, several areas are being warned of wave tides and coastal flooding.
The Gaspé Peninsula, North Shore and certain sectors of Lower St. Lawrence and Capitale-Nationale could be affected by this storm. Coastal erosion is possible in vulnerable areas.
In the Magdalen Islands, Environment Canada also notes that there is a risk of coastal erosion and violent gusts. The threat will be particularly present during Saturday midday high tide.
“We’re talking over 130 km/h, so there will be four, five, six meter waves when they hit the coast and there will be a lot of erosion,” Legault said.
POST FAULT, SCHOOLS CLOSED
Due to the weather, Canada Post has issued red and yellow service alerts for each province and territory, meaning “some operations may not be possible in some areas and may be delayed in others.”
“Where we can deliver mail, we are asking people to clear entry into their homes by removing snow and ice from their sidewalks, stairways and driveways,” it said.
Several school service centers in Quebec have announced the closure of elementary and high schools for Friday due to weather conditions and safety concerns.
There were numerous flight delays and cancellations at the international airports in Montreal and Toronto on Friday, mainly to and from western Canada, the eastern United States and sunny destinations.
Late Thursday, WestJet proactively announced flight cancellations at airports in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia due to the weather forecast.
The airline says the cancellations apply to all flights scheduled to arrive and depart at Toronto Pearson International Airport at 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday through the end of the day. Other airports affected by the disruptions are Ottawa, London, Montreal and Waterloo.
STORM HITS ONTARIO
Up to 100 vehicles were involved in multiple collisions on Highway 401, according to Ontario Provincial Police. Sections of the busy highway in southwestern Ontario are closed. Highway 402 in Greater London is also closed in several places due to several accidents.
Around 12:45 a.m. Saturday, Hydro One, Ontario’s largest electric utility, said nearly 80,000 customers were without power.
Hydro Ottawa, which serves about 353,000 homes and businesses in the federal capital and Casselman, reported about 600 customers without power around 8 p.m. Friday and said crews have been able to restore service to more than 117,000 customers.
Rain followed by falling temperatures could lead to flash frost conditions in parts of southern Ontario, while strong winds and snowstorms are forecast for some areas.
Several school boards including Toronto, Ottawa and London also closed schools for the day.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published in French on December 24, 2022.