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Freezing rain hits Ontario and Quebec, leaving more than 2.5 million people without power, Canada

colorado low 0150z april 6 2023 f

A sprawling Colorado low brought freezing rain and thunderstorms to Ontario and Quebec on April 5, 2023, causing power outages for more than 1 million customers or about 2.5 million people. Unfortunately, it’s expected that some of the residents will remain without power through the weekend.

Quebec’s power utility reported that over 676 000 of its 4.5 million customers had no electricity, as the province continued to experience freezing rain warnings. More than 316 000 customers were affected in Montreal, and 171 000 customers in the Montérégie region, south of the city.

The number of outages kept rising into Thursday when Hydro-Quebec reported more than 1 million customers are without power.

“We have 1 000 workers in the field. Despite our efforts, since the weather event is not over yet, new outages may still occur. The regions most affected by outages at the moment are Montreal, Montérégie, Outaouais, the Laurentians, Laval, Lanaudière, Centre du Québec and Estrie,” Hydro-Quebec said in a release posted early April 6.

“Unfortunately, it is not possible to give recovery times at this moment; we are seeing the damages as we go along. In addition to the linemen, pruners, planters and support staff for supplies, logistics and administrative support are being deployed. We are confident that we can restore power to some of the affected customers today. …It is already expected that some customers will still be without power on Friday and this weekend. Our teams will remain on the ground until every single client’s service has been brought back.”

The cause of the outages, according to Hydro-Québec spokeswoman Gabrielle Leblanc, was the combination of precipitation and wind, which weighed down vegetation and led to falling branches and trees on power lines.

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Many of the outages were small in area, impacting only a few customers each, which meant that repair crews would need to fix numerous breaks to restore power to everyone.

Downed trees were reported across Montreal, and weather conditions prompted the closure of the Victoria Bridge, connecting the city to its southern suburbs.

Public Security Minister François Bonnardel announced the establishment of a coordination center to address the storm’s impact.

As of early April 6, freezing rain warnings remained in effect for parts of Atlantic Canada.

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1 Hundreds of thousands lose power as freezing rain hits Ontario and Quebec – AP – April 6, 2023

Featured image credit: NOAA/GOES-East, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers. Acquired at 01:50 UTC on April 6, 2023


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