A couple of days after a massive wind storm pummelled Quebec, Hydro-Québec crews are still out there scrambling to restore power to over 34,000 customers. On the weekend, over 300,000 customers lost power because of the 100 km/hour winds that battered the province on Saturday and through Sunday.
But even though the winds subsided on Monday, some Hydro-Québec customers still don't have power at their homes.
According to a statement from Hydro-Québec, Montérégie, Laurentides and Outaouais were most affected by outages.
"Hydro-Québec has restored service to about 330,000 customers, 80% of those affected," the statement reads. "At the height of the event, on Sunday at 4 a.m. about 400,000 customers were without power due to strong winds, including gusts of over 100 km/h. At 5 a.m. on Monday, that number fell below 70,000."
As of 10:00 a.m. Monday, that number has dropped to 34,579 customers without power.
Most of the interruptions on Monday are in Montérégie, with 299 service interruptions and 9,176 customers without power. In Montreal, meanwhile, Hydro-Québec reported 14 service interruptions with 1,370 customers without power.
Hydro-Québec says that over 600 workers are in the field.
The Crown corporation has mobilized "crews from Eastern Quebec, less affected by the winds" and "crews from New Brunswick" to work on restoring power to the affected customers.
"There is a lot of work to be done to clear fallen trees and branches from our power system and make the necessary repairs," the company said. "Several locations will require the replacement of poles."
As if we weren't suffering enough from the bitter cold and semi-lockdown, Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement as a winter storm approaches Quebec.
The system could dump as much as 25 cm of snow on parts of the province through Monday, according to the federal weather agency. The Weather Network, meanwhile, predicts totals could reach 30 cm.
Environment Canada says a low-pressure system is set to gain strength as it moves up the U.S. East Coast on Sunday and Monday and could become a "significant" weather event by the time it crosses the border.
The band between Gatineau and the Charlevoix region could get the most snow, while areas south of the Saint Lawrence River could see a mix of snow, rain and freezing rain, according to the forecast.
Strong winds could further reduce visibility. The Weather Network expects "hefty impacts to travel."
Low temperatures on Saturday have also prompted Environment Canada to issue a series of extreme cold warnings for regions north of the Saint Lawrence River.
In the Parent and Gouin Reservoir areas of northern Mauricie, for example, Environment Canada says windchill values will be between -38 and -43 Saturday night into Sunday morning.
In Montreal, the Saturday afternoon windchill value is -31 with a daily high of -18 and a low of -22. Sunday isn't much better, according to the forecast, with a high of -17, a low of -18 and a morning windchill value of -32.
Even when it's, say, minus 38 C outside, you should try to avoid heating at max temperature all day long — especially during the peak winter season between December and March — according to Hydro-Québec.
"In very cold weather, it is better to reduce consumption during peak periods so as not to place more strain on the network," according to the Crown corporation.
Pendant les grands froids comme ceux qui sont pr\u00e9vus cette semaine, la consommation d\u2019\u00e9lectricit\u00e9 augmente de fa\u00e7on consid\u00e9rable \u00e0 cause du chauffage. Heureusement, il est facile de r\u00e9duire sa consommation pendant les p\u00e9riodes de pointe. (1/3)
When it's this cold, the network is definitely strained. Hydro-Québec notes that its peak electricity consumption periods are from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day.
"Peaks, annual or daily, occur when the demand for electricity reaches its maximum and the Hydro-Québec network is the most in-demand because a very large number of customers use heating or energy-consuming devices at the same time," the company explains on its website.
According to a report from TVA Nouvelles, Hydro-Québec reached an eight-year record high electricity consumption as of 8:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. With close to 39,900 Megawatts consumed, the province shattered a record that's been maintained since January 2014, TVA says.
"Small simple gestures help, such as lowering the heating by 1 C or 2 C, especially in unoccupied rooms, postponing the use of large appliances, postponing the recharging of one's electric vehicle, and reducing the duration of showers by one minute," Hydro-Québec wrote on Twitter.
At the time of writing, the temperature in Montreal is a bone-chilling -24 C with a wind chill factor that makes it feel like -35.
Hydro-Québec outages left over 300,000 customers without power after a wind storm rocked the province. At 10:16 a.m. Sunday, December 12, the Crown corporation reported 2,021 service interruptions affecting 303,782 customers.
Regions north of the Saint Lawrence and Ottawa Rivers had the most Hydro customers without power. As of the same time Sunday morning, Outaouais had 33,678 customers without electricity, 35,231 were without power in Lanaudière and the Laurentides counted 58,998.
14,122 Hydro customers in Montreal had no power.
Environment Canada had issued a wind warning for much of southern Quebec on Friday. By Saturday morning, the forecast warned of winds reaching 100 km/h.
The weather station at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport detected a 100 km/h wind gust at 8:00 p.m. Saturday night and gusts between 86 and 92 km/h every hour thereafter until 1 a.m. Sunday.
On Twitter, Hydro-Québec asked for patience as it dispatched over 400 employees to inspect service interruptions.
The company said it could not forecast when power will return to some affected zones because it takes time for crews to reach and evaluate points of interruption. Teams are also prioritizing "places with immediate hazards," such as downed wires and fires, and essential public services, such as hospitals, Hydro explained.
The good news for Montrealers is that there are no more storms on the horizon. After a harsh week of snow, wind and freezing rain, Environment Canada forecasts positive daytime temperatures and partially sunny skies for Montrealers from Sunday to Wednesday (with the exception of a cloudy Monday).
Get out those boots and coats if you haven't already, Montreal. This coming weekend is shaping up to be a snowy, rainy mess.
According to a special weather statement from Environment Canada, "a low-pressure system from Colorado will affect the province of Quebec this weekend," bringing with it a "mixed bag of precipitation."
That could mean snow in some areas of the province and rain in others. Environment Canada also foresees freezing rain falling in areas from Abitibi-Témiscamingue to Saguenay. The precipitation could reach the eastern part of the province on Saturday.
With the rain and possible snow could come gusts of "strong westerly winds" overnight Saturday.
The seven-day forecast for Montreal shows periods of snow on Friday. The snow could turn into rain on Saturday, however, with the temperature forecasted to reach a relatively balmy 8 C. The warm-ish weather could continue all weekend and into Monday, with some sunny spells and more showers.
"Generally, areas to the north and the west of the low's track will receive significant snowfall amounts, while rain will prevail elsewhere," explained Environment Canada.
Like all weather, it'll be hard to predict where exactly the worst of it will be. Environment Canada underlined that "for the moment, the low-pressure system's track remains fairly uncertain."
"The exact forecast precipitation types and amounts will depend on this track."
This weather system could be a preview of the season ahead. The Weather Network's winter forecast for Quebec calls for "a stormy winter [...] broken up at times by extended periods of rather mild temperatures."
This article’s cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.