Heavy Snowstorm Causes Power Outages and School Closures Across Quebec

Many Quebec residents woke up to a white blanket of snow on Thursday morning, accompanied by power outages. A depression system sweeping through the southern regions of the province is expected to leave between 15 to 25 centimeters of snow, leading to numerous power failures and school closures.

By 10 a.m., Hydro-Québec reported over 273,000 customers without electricity, with 81,000 in the Laurentides and 69,000 in Montreal. This was an improvement from the earlier count which indicated 300,000 outages, including 100,000 in Montreal.

In Montérégie, 42,000 customers were affected by power outages at 10 a.m., while in Outaouais, 22,000 were without power. Residents in Lanaudière (21,000), Laval (20,000), and Estrie (14,000) were also impacted.

Hydro-Québec spokesperson, Caroline Des Rosiers, explained that the heavy, water-laden snow falling was weighing down branches, potentially causing them to break and damage the power distribution network.

The state-owned company had deployed nearly 1000 workers to assist in reconnection efforts, but the challenging weather conditions made predictions on restoration times difficult.

It was cautioned by Hydro-Québec that some individuals might not have power restored until Friday for more complex outages. While some early morning issues had been resolved, new interruptions due to the ongoing storm hindered overall progress.

People were advised not to approach fallen power lines and to contact emergency services if needed. Additionally, the use of fuel-operated thermal devices indoors was strongly discouraged to avoid hazards.

School closures were widespread, with institutions in Outaouais, Laval, Laurentides, Lanaudière, Montreal, and Montérégie affected by the heavy snowfall.

Environment Canada had warned about potential snow accumulations of up to 20 cm in several Quebec regions, reaching 25 cm in some areas. The wet snowfall was expected to impact morning traffic, especially with the allowance of summer tires since mid-March.

Despite challenging road conditions, the Sûreté du Québec reported several minor accidents with no major injuries by Thursday morning. According to meteorologists, this late-season snowfall, while inconvenient, was within normal parameters for early April.

Flight delays were recorded at Montreal airport, and in Ontario, Hydro One struggled with over 59,000 customer outages, with successful reconnections for around 125,000 clients.

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