Hundreds of thousands still without power for 3rd night in Quebec following ice storm
As many Quebecers entered a third night in the dark since a major ice storm blanketed much of the province this week, the number of people without power has fallen to below 400,000.
At the height of the power outages in Quebec, 1.1 million Hydro-Quebec customers were without power. The number has been slowly dropping since Thursday, but not fast enough for several residents who are struggling with no clear timeline of when the heat and lights will be turned on again.
As of 10 p.m. Friday, the number of customers without electricity dropped to about 300,000, with nearly 63 per cent (187,781) of them in Montreal. The West Island remained the hardest-hit area of the city for a third night in a row.
In Quebec's Montérégie region, there were more than 38,000 customers in the dark late Friday night.
During a Friday morning news conference, Hydro-Quebec officials said power has been restored to over 500,000 of its users. The goal was to get 800,000 customers back on the grid by the end of the day Friday.
- SEE THE MAP: Real-time Hydro-Quebec outages by region
Around 1,400 Hydro workers were deployed Friday to speed up repair efforts, up from the roughly 1,000 workers sent out Thursday. Officials said 70 km/h winds could impact Friday's work and possibly cause additional outages.
"We're not expecting a huge number of new outages, maybe a minor amount," said Maxime Nadeau, director of energy system control at Hydro-Quebec, explaining that tree branches disturbed by the storm could detach because of winds.
Some customers will remain without electricity into Sunday and possibly even Monday, although Hydro Quebec did not specify the regions where this is expected.
Over 1.1 million lost power at the height of the outage following Wednesday's ice storm, which coated swaths of Quebec in a layer of ice, toppling trees that crushed parked cars and damaged power lines.
Three people, including two in Quebec, have died in relation to the storm, according to police. A man in his 60s died in Les Coteaux, in Quebec's Montérégie region, after a tree branch fell on him. A 60-year-old man was also killed by a falling branch in eastern Ontario Wednesday, where the powerful storm was felt as well.
On Friday, police confirmed that a 75-year-old man was found unconscious Thursday evening in a suspected carbon monoxide poisoning incident in Saint-Joseph-du-Lac, northwest of Montreal. In that case, police said the man's wife found him unresponsive in the garage after he had been using a diesel-powered generator in the garage.
Dozens of emergency overnight shelters were opened across Quebec Thursday evening to accommodate people without power. Six were opened in Montreal and will remain open Friday night.
Large crowds gathered at Montreal-area malls throughout the week to charge their phones and warm up.
Early Friday evening, emergency services officials said 92 people have been evaluated for carbon monoxide poisoning in the Montreal and Laval areas, with 71 of them being sent to hospital.
Residents without electricity are cautioned not to use fuel-burning appliances indoors.
Hydro-Quebec issued a warning about electrical wires on the ground on Friday. The Crown corporation said that if a wire is spotted on the ground to not approach it and call 911 to have the area secured.
The Quebec government confirmed on Friday that some essential businesses will be permitted to open on Easter Sunday.