Thursday, January 05, 2017

Storm leaves thousands without power in Quebec

Sanding on L'Ile Perrot Wednesday afternoon, after close to 15mm of freezing rain and 10cm of wet snow fell. (Valley Weather Photo)
A fierce combination of freezing rain and heavy wet snow, followed by winds in excess of 80km/h, have left thousands without power in southern Quebec. The winter storm dumped nearly 20mm of ice on the region, followed by as much as 15cm of wet snow. Close to 70,000 homes were left in the dark, most north and west of Montreal. Hydro Quebec has been working around the clock, with nearly 300 crews on the job. This morning the number is down to 35,000 customers. That amount was actually lower before a potent cold front arrived last evening. The utility expects most homes to be back online by the end of today. However, that will depend on new outages caused by the strong winds. Winds in southwest Quebec have been gusting from 50 to 70km/h. A peak gust of 86km/h (52 mph) was reported at Trudeau Airport, and 85km/h at St Hubert. The winds will eventually back off today below 40km/h by noon. The strong winds are generating intense snow squalls off Lake Ontario, some of which may meander down the St. Lawrence Valley. We may see more scattered flurries today, with a couple of centimetres of snow possible. If you have travels along Highway 401 towards Kingston, keep this in mind. Heavy snow squalls are likely with snow covered roads and reduced visibility.

Much colder air has arrived as well, -9C (16F) with a windchill of -19C (-2F) at 7 A.M. The colder weather is with us into the weekend, in some cases dropping below -20C. By the middle of next week, another storm will arrive, unfortunately with another messy mix of rain, freezing rain and snow.

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