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Storm leaves thousands without electricity

At least 3,895 Hydro Québec customers in the Haut-Saint-Laurent were still without electricity as of 7 p.m. on Thursday following freezing rain and high winds that blew through the region on Wednesday.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the Saint-Anicet weather station recorded a total of 47.9 mm of precipitation in under 12 hours, much of which fell as freezing rain before turning to rain later in the day. 

The municipality of Saint-Anicet was hardest hit in the MRC, where 2,359 homes and businesses remain in the dark due to six interruptions, which could be due to equipment failure or specific incidents such as downed power lines due to broken tree branches. In response, the municipality has opened the council room at the town hall to residents needing to warm up or charge their personal devices and cellular phones. 

Following a virtual meeting with Hydro-Québec, the mayor of the municipality of Dundee, Linda Gagnon, warned in a publication on social media that residents could be facing a long wait before electricity services are restored. 

 

Tree branched coated with ice in foreground. Red brick house in background.
Thick ice accumulated on branches outside this home in Hinchinbrooke during Wednesdays freezing rain event PHOTO Gail MacGregor

 

“We are talking about restoring power to 350,000 customers per day. There are more than 1 million to restore,” she wrote, explaining that Hydro-Québec is concentrating on restoring electricity to strategic areas to ensure public security before focusing on less populated areas. 

The community hall will be open in Dundee on Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The town of Huntingdon has also announced plans to open the Huntingdon Legion from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday to anyone still without electricity. 

According to Hydro-Québec, in the Haut-Saint-Laurent, only the municipalities of Havelock and Howick are currently reporting zero outages. There are also no reported outages in the Village of Hemmingford, and only 16 customers in total without electricity in the MRC Jardins-de-Napierville. There are presently 10,947 customers without electricity in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, where Hydro-Québec workers are attempting to resolve at least 78 different interruptions. The city of Châteauguay declared a 48-hour local state of emergency on Thursday afternoon to help cope with flooding as over half of the city’s pumping stations are currently working off generators. According to a report in the Montreal Gazette, there are as many as 10,000 homes in Châteauguay at risk of flooding.

Hydro-Québec says its 1,100 workers are doing everything they can to restore electricity as quickly as possible, with the goal of restoring services to the majority of its affected customers by midnight on Friday. Service restoration times have yet to be established for the 36 interruptions currently listed in the Haut-Saint-Laurent. 

 

River water crossing a curvy road and filling a field.
Flood waters from the Chateauguay River resulted in the closure of Athelstan Road just outside Huntingdon on Thursday PHOTO Sarah Rennie

 

The significant rainfall on Wednesday also led to a sudden rise in water levels of the Chateauguay River, which burst its banks along the Athelstan Road between Huntingdon and Hinchinbrooke. Flood waters from the Outardes River in Hinchinbrooke also resulted in the closure of the Lost Nation Road, after water levels rose quickly throughout the morning.

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1 Comment

Hugh Maynard 2023-04-07 at 13:11

Love the notification app!

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