Hydro-Quebec still working to restore power after intense weekend storm

Hydro-Quebec is still working to restore power to nearly 124,000 homes following a weekend storm that left hundreds of thousands of people in the dark.

As of Tuesday afternoon, most of the outages remain in the Laurentians with just under 70,000 customers without power, compared to 28,000 in Lanaudière and 24,000 in Outaouais.

Quebec Energy and Natural Resources Minister Jonatan Julien said Monday that the Crown corporation is now working on its most complicated cases -- such as fallen wires -- and it may take longer to reconnect some customers.

"The majority of customers should regain service today," stated Hydro-Quebec's Twitter account Tuesday, which estimates that "there will remain around 30,000 customers after tomorrow for whom the work could take longer."

Some 700 teams of workers are on the ground, including contractors who have come to assist Hydro-Quebec crews.

It's a complicated task for Hydro-Quebec, as the line of severe storms struck a territory 300 kilometres long by 100 kilometres wide, stretching from Gatineau to Quebec City.

Strong winds were recorded in several locations during the storm -- 151 km/h on Lake Memphremagog, 96 km/h in Trois-Rivières and 90 km/h in Gatineau.

"The infrastructure cannot hold" under winds of that velocity, according to vice-president of operations and maintenance at Hydro-Quebec, Régis Tellier, noting this storm is unlike past storms in the region -- even ice storms.

"We're used to seeing branches, pieces of trees, but this is really trunks, 50, 60 centimetres long," he said, adding that the wreckage is also complicating access to outage sites as roads are still blocked.

At the height of the storm on Saturday, 550,000 homes lost power.

At least 10 people have been confirmed dead as communities work to clean up the destruction left behind.

Hydro-Quebec is warning people who spot electrical wires on the ground not to approach them and call 911.

Disaster service centres are open in areas that were impacted by the severe storms.

-- with files from The Canadian Press.

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