Christmas Eve: some 192,000 Quebec homes and businesses without electricity

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Christmas Eve: some 192,000 Quebec homes and businesses without electricity

Thousands of Quebecers risk spending Christmas without electricity due to a winter storm affecting the province

Christmas celebrations are likely to remain etched in the memory as plans to reunite with family and friends, after three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, have again fallen through for many Quebecers, this time due to a winter storm that has affected the province since Thursday evening.

Thousands of Quebecers will spend Christmas without electricity.

At the end of the afternoon on Saturday, Hydro-Québec reported 192,506 customers still without power since the day before. No region of Quebec was spared by these power outages.

The region hardest hit remained the Capitale-Nationale with 50,371 Hydro-Québec subscribers without electricity when they woke up on Saturday.

At a press conference, Hydro-Québec president and CEO Sophie Brochu compared the situation to a game of snake and ladder. Indeed, even if 200,000 households were able to be connected by the network, 200,000 new outages were added on Friday evening.

From the Hydro-Québec Coordination Centre, the executive vice-president of the Crown corporation, Éric Filion, indicated that the repair situation was progressing, but that it was necessary to deal with small breakdowns that affect little of customers.

We have 25% of the 250,000 outages that affect fewer than five customers and we have 50% of outages that affect fewer than 20 customers.

He specified that it was the violent winds, with records recorded at more than 125 km/h in the Quebec region, which generated the additional outages, particularly in the east of the province.

These weather elements slowed down the work, he specified, adding that the end of the ice storm, which can have consequences on the lines, was however good news for Hydro-Québec.

The outages are mainly related to heavy snow falling on our wires and vegetation, he said, assuring that a team of 12,000 employees were at work to restore power. Regarding the new outages tonight, we are patrolling the network to understand the damage levels.

Mr. Filion promised that Hydro-Québec's objective was to reconnect the majority of subscribers by Sunday evening, which is Christmas dinner, without however commenting on the status of the new outages that have occurred in recent hours.< /p>

The network is holding up, Mr. Tellier noted, but about 100 wooden poles from the distribution network have been damaged across different regions. They must be replaced.

Some 1,200 Hydro-Québec workers have been mobilized since Friday, including line workers and customer service teams.

There are disaster service centers that are open all over the territory, said the Minister of Public Security, François Bonardel, on the airwaves of RDI in the afternoon. They will be open to welcome all these people. If there are others that need to be open in the next few hours, we will do so.

The effects of the strong winter storm that is hitting Quebec are also complicating road conditions.

The spokesperson for the Ministère des Transports, Gilles Payer, indicates that the regions where the roads are most affected by climatic conditions are north of the St. Lawrence River, from the south to the Lower North Shore, including the mountainous regions, Saguenay and Abitibi as well as Beauce.

The Bas-Saint-Laurent [regions] and all of coastal Gaspésie are of concern for the risks of coastal surges , he mentioned.

The spokesperson specifies that all roads in the province, including central Quebec, Montérégie and Estrie and the metropolitan area, to a lesser extent, have pavements that range from icy to snowy, sometimes clear.

He adds that visibility on the roads is very variable, ranging from good to reduced, and even zero in several places. A pileup involving some twenty vehicles took place this morning at 9:10 a.m. near the Île-aux-Tourtes bridge in the Vaudreuil-Dorion sector.

The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) has not counted any victims or serious injuries. Although towing operations are still in progress, the partial opening of the road axis is planned for soon, report the authorities.

The Île-aux-Tourtes bridge is the road bridge linking Vaudreuil-Dorion to Senneville, spanning Girwood Island and Lac des Deux-Montagnes.

< p class="e-p">Another accident involving a dozen vehicles took place on Highway 15 south in the Mirabel sector. The emergency response is now complete. Road conditions, even if the precipitation has ended, remain variable from one section to another, recalled the SQ.

Reduced visibility, caused by strong winds and blowing snow, forced the closure to traffic of many arteries on the territory, in particular route 381 between Charlevoix and the Saguenay River and route 389 Baie-Comeau towards Fermont. As for Route 138 between Baie-Comeau and Port-Cartier, it is now open.

Montreal-Trudeau International Airport is experiencing disruptions for most flights on Saturday. The vast majority of departures are currently delayed. The situation is similar for arrivals.

For the day of December 24, cancellations affect 25 flights out of a total of 401 flights. These are mainly domestic flights. It is important for travelers to check the status of their flight before going to the airport and to arrive at least 3 hours before, advises the airport.

About of Via Rail, more than fifteen trains in the Quebec City-Windsor corridor were immobilized or canceled on Saturday morning and passengers were stuck on the tracks for many hours.

Whether it's power outages, trees on the tracks, and even a tree falling on a locomotive, the conditions make it impossible to operate some of our trains, a Via Rail spokesperson explained by email.

Passengers who travel on these trains will be fully reimbursed, promises Via Rail , which invites passengers to consult the company's website before going to the station since it foresees significant delays on the line connecting Ontario to Quebec.

< em>With information from The Canadian Press

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