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85,000 customers still without power in Quebec as spring storm dumps heavy snow

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A total of 85,000 customers remain without power across Quebec after snow blanketed the province Thursday.

More than 20 centimetres of snow have been recorded at Montreal-Trudeau Airport and over 30 centimetres in downtown Montreal.

"In several places, power lines are down due to strong gusts of wind or the weight of broken tree branches," Hydro-Quebec notes. "We are mobilizing all available crews to work on restoring service as quickly as possible."

According to Hydro-Quebec, 85,019 customers were without power as of 8:15 p.m.

The hardest-hit regions are the Laurentians (32,631), Outaouais (11,086) Laval (10,639) and Montérégie (10,595). Montreal still has 4,243 Hydro-Quebec clients in the dark.

"For public safety, it is crucial that people not approach power lines," the Crown corporation stresses. "If you see electrical wires on the ground, please do not approach the area and call 911 to have the area secured."

Part of the issue, according to Hydro-Quebec, is the consistency of the snow falling.

"The snow is essentially three to six times more heavy than usually it would be, so it has an impact on trees, of course. Branches have broken and fallen on our network and caused outages," said Cendrix Bouchard, a spokesperson with Hydro-Quebec.

A pedestrian crosses the street through the snow as a spring storm dumped over 20cm of snow, Thursday, April 4, 2024 in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)At the height of the outage, Bouchard says 600,000 customers were affected.

Of that number, the public utility company says about 400,000 connections have been restored.

"Some people will have to wait tomorrow," Bouchard admitted, though he pointed out that the Crown corporation believes most people should have their power back by the end of the day.

"There are 1,200 people on the ground as we speak," he said. "We knew the weather was coming and we were prepared and we deployed our employees as soon as possible."

The snow is expected to start melting within the next few days, as the forecast predicts warmer weather by the weekend.

Hydro-Quebec adds that people should "absolutely not use outdoor equipment and devices inside" as fuel-burning heaters, lights, generators and portable stoves designed for outdoor use can cause asphyxiation or poisoning if used inside.

Snow in April is not unusual, points out CTV News' Lori Graham.

Montreal usually sees around 13 cm of snow during the month, and the biggest one-day snowfall recorded was 33.9 cm on April 9, 2000.

A person shovels snow to clear their car in Montreal (CTV News)

School closures

  • Centre de services scolaire de Laval
  • Centre de services scolaire des Affluents
  • Centre de services scolaire des Mille-Îles
  • Centre de services scolaire des Samares
  • Lester B. Pearson School Board
  • Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board

Riverside School Board

  • Courtland Park International School
  • Harold Napper School
  • Mountainview School

Daycares

  • CPE les Bois Verts
  • CPE Dollard 
  • CPE Hebrew Foundation
  • CPE Lachine

Additional closures

  • Centre académique Fournier
  • Centre d'intégration scolaire inc.
  • Greaves Adventist Academy
  • Hebrew Foundation School
  • JEM Workshop
  • Marianopolis College
  • Miss Edgars and Miss Cramps School
  • Peter Hall School
  • Rotiwennakehte School
  • Ratihente:te High School
  • Sacred Heart School 
  • Summit School
  • Vanguard School

Trafalgar School for Girls says it will have a late start to the day, at 10 a.m.

The school notes that "doors and supervision will be as normal for anyone that arrives earlier. Regular classes will take place according to a modified schedule."

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