50,000 without power after storm blows through Quebec
Published Friday, December 20, 2013 6:58PM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 23, 2013 12:31PM EST
MONTREAL – More than 50,000 Hydro customers are still without power Monday, after a winter storm blew through southern Quebec and dumped more than 30 centimetres of precipitation in some areas.
The storm system brought freezing rain that led to the accumulation of ice power lines and trees, in turn causing power outages. The majority of the outages are in Monteregie and Eastern Townships regions, where there was still a freezing rain warning in effect as of mid-morning.
A spokesperson said Sunday teams have been mobilized to fix the outages as quickly as possible.
The City of Montreal also said that it has 3,000 employees working since last weekend to clear away snow from the city's 10,000 kilometres of roads and sidewalks, and will continue to work on the job.
The goal is to have the snow removed by New Year's Eve. Workers will have to take a 36-hour break for Christmas as of 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Provincial law requires workers to get the break, but the city can choose when they grant the work stoppage.
“We have to stop because of the law. The law asks our employees to take a break, but also because it’s Christmas for everyone, the employees too,” said Anie Samson of the city’s executive committee.
The city also decided to stop the snow removal operation because it didn’t want to tow cars parked in no-parking zone Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
They are reminding drivers that free parking spots are available in various neighbourhoods for people who park on streets that are slated to be cleared.
The city estimates that the snow removal job will be 25 per cent finished by end of day Monday and 40 per cent done by Tuesday night.
Officials are asking Montrealers to be cautious around intersections and curbs due to dense snow.
For more information on snow removal and free parking spaces, visit the City of Montreal website or call 311.
The storm has already led to dozens of delays at Trudeau airport on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year.
Air Canada recommends that its passengers to check their flight schedule on the company's website before heading to the airport.
Environment Canada suggests travellers consider delaying, or even cancelling, their plans because road conditions have deteriorated.
Officials from Transport Quebec are also asking people to stay home if possible, and if travelling is a must, to plan ahead and leave plenty of time.
"Have a look on Quebec511.info or call us at 5-1-1 and get all the weather conditions, the road conditions on the road you'll be using. At least you'll be alerted of what's ahead for you," said Caroline Larose of Transport Quebec.
Road conditions were also dicey, and poor road conditions were blamed for four deaths on Quebec roads over the weekend.
VIA Rail is advising travellers of delays in service between Montreal and Toronto and Montreal and Halifax, as well as other destinations leaving from Toronto. Check arrival and departure statuses here.
More than 30 centimetres of snow, freezing rain and pellets pummeled Montreal between Friday and Sunday.
The low-pressure system that brought the icy, snowy mess to southern Quebec over the weekend is now pushing into the Atlantic region.
The precipitation is expected to stop by mid-day Monday, but don’t expect any real relief from the elements.
An Arctic high-pressure system is moving in, which will cause temperatures to drop Monday evening and through the day Tuesday, says CTV Montreal’s Lori Graham.
The low on Christmas Eve is expected to hit -20 degrees Celsius, before the wind chill is factored in.
And if you feel like it’s been colder than usual this month, one meteorologist is confirming your suspicions.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve (had) a December like this,” said Rene Heroux of Environment Canada.
-- with files from The Canadian Press