Intense wind storm leaves over 300,000 without power
WATCH ABOVE: Hydro-Quebec is still struggling to pick up the pieces after crazy winds Friday knocked down trees, shattering windows and tearing apart network lines. Rachel Lau reports.
MONTREAL – Hydro-Quebec is still struggling to pick up the pieces after crazy winds Friday knocked down trees, shattering windows and tearing apart network lines.
“Our teams have been working really hard throughout the night,” said Patrice Lavoie, a spokesperson for Hydro-Quebec.
Environment Canada issued a weather warning early Friday afternoon for severe conditions. The strong winds clocked in at around 100 kilometres an hour for the island of Montreal.
“What gave the severe winds — the damaging winds — was the rapidly rising pressure behind this intense weather system front,” explained meteorologist Michael Elliott.
By 7 p.m., nearly 350,000 people in Quebec lost power – around 80,000 of them in Montreal.
“We knew that the wind storm was coming so we made sure that we had enough teams to go on the field as soon as the storm was over,” said Lavoie. “But there’s only so much we can do when we have to fight against the elements.”
Damage from the storm is extensive across the province, including the Centre Laval mall, which was evacuated after part of its roof collapsed, rupturing one of the building’s gas lines.
One Lachine resident even took a video of an electrical fireball as it made its way down a power line outside his house.
By Saturday afternoon, many customers had their power back – but that still left around 78, 000 people province-wide in the dark.
“In some areas, there has been some more important damage to the networks,” said Lavoie.
“In those cases, our teams have to go over there, remove branches from the network; in some cases we have also trees that have fallen on the networks.”
Some say they were surprised by the intensity of the storm.
“We heard a snap and a large bang and we were without power and then we found out that there was a tree that had fallen down in the park next to us,” said one Montrealer.
“I was quite surprised when I got out of work I was like ‘woah, what’s that?'” said one Laval resident.
“There was a lot of wind and a couple of trees down.”
Hydro says they are working hard to restore power to the province, and have even called in reinforcements from New Brunswick and Vermont.
Nevertheless, Lavoie admits it will take some time to get the entire network up and running again.
Hydro-Quebec is regularly updating its Twitter page with information on the storm’s aftermath.