Around 400,000 homes still without power in Quebec due to severe thunderstorms

Powerful thunderstorms hit Quebec late Saturday afternoon and evening.

In all, Hydro-Québec reported 1,237 outages affecting 468,837 homes across the province.

According to Hydro-Quebec, over 90,000 homes were still without power at 10 a.m. in the Outaouais region and over 150,000 in the Laurentians.

The Crown corporation attributed the outages to "severe thunderstorms". In addition, around 100,000 customers in the Lanaudière region were experiencing power outages.

In total, Hydro Quebec reported 398,889 customers were experiencing power outages.

Major outages were also reported in the Quebec City and Mauricie regions.

In Val-des-Monts, in the Outaouais region, several trees fell on a cottage with residents inside. A mother and daughter were trapped inside the building, whose roof had collapsed.

Des orages d’une rare violence se déplacent au Québec et causent des pannes. ATTENTION : Si vous voyez des fils au sol, il ne faut surtout pas s'approcher et plutôt appeler le 911 pour faire sécuriser les lieux.
Pour savoir quoi faire pendant une panne ⬇️ https://t.co/kp5rwilMKD

— Hydro-Québec (@client_hydro) May 21, 2022

In addition, a tree was hanging over the roof. The MRC des Collines police were able to safely evacuate the people from the residence, and they were not injured.

Environment Canada had issued an emergency alert on the national system for all television, radio and cellular phones in the Outaouais region.

Another tornado warning was issued around 5 p.m. on the national system for the Lanaudière region, including the cities of Joliette, Rawdon and Berthierville. It was reported that strong winds, intense rain and large hail hit the area.

Another alert was then issued for western Montreal and parts of the Laurentians, including Lachute and Saint-Jérôme.

By 10 p.m., severe thunderstorm and tornado watches were over for many parts of the province. However, severe thunderstorm warnings were still in effect in the greater Montreal area, the Eastern Townships and the Beauce.

MAJOR DAMAGE ACROSS PROVINCE

Strong winds were recorded in several locations, including Lake Memphremagog with gusts up to 151 km/h, Trois-Rivières with peaks of 96 km/h and Gatineau with 90 km/h.

The Montreal area was generally spared by the storms, which moved from Ontario through the Outaouais, Laurentians, Lanaudière and Mauricie regions to the Capitale-Nationale region late Saturday afternoon. The Eastern Townships and Chaudière-Appalaches regions were affected by another thunderstorm cell during the night, around 3 a.m. Sunday.

Several municipalities reported fallen trees and damage.

In Val-Morin, in the Laurentians, residents were asked to keep their drinking water consumption to a minimum: "Due to the power outage, the supply of water produced by our pumping stations is slowing down," the municipality wrote on its Facebook page.

In Lanaudière, two schools were damaged by the weather. They are the Sainte-Bernadette school in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes and the Saint-Alphonse school in Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, according to a note published by the Centre de services scolaires des Samares, which said it was working with experts to assess the situation and "organize the return to class safely."

In the Outaouais region, several residents have shared photos on social networks of the Saint-Fidèle church in Fassett, whose bell tower collapsed.   

-- This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on May 22, 2022. 

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