‘It was crazy’: Power outages, downed trees after thunderstorms hit Quebec

Click to play video: 'Thousands without power after spring thunderstorms sweep through Quebec'
Thousands without power after spring thunderstorms sweep through Quebec
Thousands of homes across Quebec remain in the dark after thunderstorms hit the province. As Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports, while Montreal was spared the worse of it, the city's south shore was hit hard. – May 23, 2024

Turbulent thunderstorms swept through southern Quebec late Wednesday, splintering fully grown trees, toppling power lines and leaving thousands without electricity.

Hydro-Québec said at there were more than 19,000 customers in the dark at the peak of the outages.

On Montreal’s south shore, severe thunderstorms caused significant property damage to several homes. Dozens of large maple trees were brought down by powerful winds that reached 90 kilometres per hour.

“It was over in 10 minutes. I heard the bang. It was crazy,” Châteauguay resident Michel Gaudreau said while looking at the downed tree on his lawn.

Gaudreau says his maple tree was uprooted and narrowly missed his home, but damaged his pool and fence.

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He is one of many residents on Montreal’s south shore taking in the storm damage.

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“It was crazy. The rain was so loud and the wind was blowing so hard,” Gaudreau said. “We are lucky. I could be dead.”

Electrifying light shows brought heavy rains and strong winds to Quebec, with the Montérégie region and the Laurentians among the hardest hit. Nearly 9,000 homes were left in the dark in those areas.

Montreal managed to avoid the brunt of the storm, with less than 1,800 affected customers.

Hydro-Québec said hundreds of workers are on the job to restore power to affected homes. In Châteauguay, city workers were also busy clearing scattered debris and downed trees.

Gordon McPhee said he has never experienced a storm like this in his 70 years in Montreal.

“It could have been worse,” he said while picking up branches off his lawn. “It’s nice to be able to just talk about it and say everything was okay.

“It was frightening enough.”

As the massive cleanup continues, Hydro-Québec says crews should have power restored to the majority of the grid by Friday.

with files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise and The Canadian Press

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