Thursday, February 25, 2016

Over 250,000 Quebec homes lose power in freezing rain

Crews remove ice and snow on L'Ile Perrot Wednesday afternoon. (ValleyWX Photo)
A powerful winter storm continues to move northeast from Lake Ontario into southern Quebec this morning. The storm produced a cocktail of mixed precipitation in Montreal on Wednesday, most of that in the form of freezing rain last evening. The ice, along with gusty winds up to 70km/h, knocked branches onto power lines. The result was over 250,000 Quebec homes without power, most of those north and west of Montreal. In Montreal those without power number 13,000, down from 20,000 last evening. Temperatures have nudged just above the freezing point this morning, helping to melt some of the ice off trees. Hydro Quebec crews have been working all night on the problem, but loosing ground to the weather. This morning the number of outages remains at over 200,000. Hydro Quebec expects to gain an upper hand on the outages over the next few hours as temperatures warm slightly and freezing rain ends.

Ice buildup was significant on trees and power lines in many parts of southern Quebec overnight ValleyWX Photo).
The storm will continue today with showers and even thunderstorms in southern Quebec. Radar this morning is showing several lightning strikes near Granby in the Eastern Townships. As the back edge of the low pressure moves east later today, cold air will pour into the region with all precipitation changing back to snow. Winds will become strong once again, with up to 5cm of snow possible in southern Quebec. Temperatures will warm slightly to 2C (36F) this morning before dropping to -11C (12F) tonight.

This system has had far reaching impacts with heavy snow across the central Great Lakes, parts of Ontario and central Quebec, and strong thunderstorms across the eastern US. Those thunderstorms produced deadly tornadoes again on Wednesday with 3 more fatalities, this time in Virginia. Severe thunderstorms stretched as far north as Vermont and Maine overnight. Widespread flash flooding was reported in Vermont and New York after record rainfall on Wednesday.

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