Ferocious windstorm leaves over 900 000 without power in Quebec, Canada


Violent wind gusts with speeds as strong as 100 km/h (62 mph) battered areas across Quebec on Friday, November 1, 2019, leaving more than 900 000 customers without power. Electrical towers and trees were knocked out, and one fatality was reported.

Over 3 800 Hydro-Quebec customers experienced power outage as of 22:00 LT, including 50 000 customers on the island of Montreal.

Trudeau airport in Dorval City, Montreal, registered gusts as high as 105 km/h 65 mph), before the winds began to die down late in the day.

YouTube video

Hydro-Quebec crews have started working through the night and would still be repairing downed power lines through next week. About a hundred lineworkers have been also working to restore service.

"Our crews, before even thinking of repairing the line, sometimes they must act like lumberjacks, so there's lots of work before we can think of repairing the grid," said spokesperson Francis Labbe.

"We suggest the population get prepared for maybe one or two days in the dark, it's better to be prepared than not prepared enough."

Labbe added, "Some of the outages will be easy to repair, but we have so many outages that we have to spread our teams all across the province so that might complicate everything."

The spokesperson advised locals to avoid trees or hydro poles they think could be weakened from the violent winds.

"We suggest that people be fully aware of the hazards that might come up. If a tree has [been] made fragile by the wind, some branches could fall, so if you have a doubt, just don't walk under it, don't go near."

Quebec's minister of public safety Genevieve Guilbault also urged Quebecers to stay away from the roads as much as possible. "It's an impressive weather system hitting Quebec. We're seeing a lot of incidents: church roofs and house roofs that are torn off or that threaten to fall. I'm asking people to be extremely prudent."

She continued, "For those who have to go outside on the road network to be careful and those who can stay at home–avoid going outside. Let the storm pass."

Transports Quebec temporarily closed the Highway 10 in Granby in both directions on the evening of November 1 to allow Hydro Quebec crews to repair wires over the highway.

Montreal fire department reported that they received a number of emergency calls across the province. The department responded to several cases of people being hit with blown away debris.

In a video taken by a citizen named Nancy Montreal, the storm was shown tearing through a gas station in St-Hyacinthe.

The powerful winds left a few injured and killed one man in Bromont when a torn tree struck him in the head.

In Montreal, another man was also hit in the head with a brick from a top of a three-story building. According to the department, the victim was taken to the hospital and is being treated for serious injuries.

As of Sunday, November 3, Hydro-Quebec's president said the number of customers without power will drop to less than 100 000. Complex cases might take a few more days to be settled as the crew is also dealing with the aftermath of the windstorm.

Featured image credit: Montreal Gazette/YouTube


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