Two men were found dead in a car in the small town of Saint-Pierre-de-la-Rivière southeast of Quebec City. They apparently pulled over in the storm and froze to death.
The snow and a tidal surge had many people running for cover in Quebec City. Violent winds pushed the river right into the streets of the old town. Firefighters helped three families escape their flooding basements and rescued at least one motorist from her vehicle early Wednesday morning.
“She was surprised by the rapid rise in water. Her car was stuck there so the firefighters went to help her,” explained Annie Marmin with the Quebec City fire department.
“People who have worked here… 15 years say they’ve never experienced it,” said Dagmar Lombard, manager at Auberge St. Antoine.
Lombard, who moved here only six weeks ago, said her employees tell her this is the worst flood in recent memory. The hotel’s venues were also flooded. To add to the problem, the storm interfered with Hydro Quebec fixing an equipment break. The entire Vieux Port neighbourhood was without power for almost 24 hours.
“That means also there’s no heating, there’s no warm water… There are no fridges,” Lombard said.
“The wind overnight was up to 120 kilometres per hour in the Quebec City area. It was high tide so we can easily imagine the winds pushing the waters against the shore so there was a storm surge,” Environment Canada’s Rene Heroux said.
Since Tuesday night’s storm, firefighters responded to 100 calls and police were called to 44 collisions. Heroux said Quebec City hasn’t seen a storm in March this bad since 2008.
“It’s already affected our business, if I may so,” Lombard said. “We haven’t yet calculated everything. It’s also because our systems are all down.”