Ice storm hits 137,000 hydro customers and makes Quebec roads perilous

The province woke up to power outages and icy road conditions across Quebec Jan. 12, 2020. (Daniel J. Rowe/CTV News)

Road conditions are difficult, particularly south of the St. Lawrence River, especially on the South Shores of Montreal and Quebec while over 137,000 Hydro Quebec customers were affected by 125 disruptions to the network.

Several roads were also closed shortly before 7 a.m. Sunday morning in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, according to Bruno Lacombe of the Ministere des Transports (MTQ).

Three roads were closed there in both directions, namely, Route 132 between Lévis and Montmagny as well as route 281 between Saint-Michel-de-Bellechasse and Saint-Raphael, then Route 218 between Saint-Henri and Saint-Charles-de- Nice hunt.

"We also have Highway 20 which is closed, in both directions between Lévis and Montmagny," stressed Lacombe.

Further south, even if roads were not closed in the greater Montreal area, motorists needed to be extremely vigilant due to the icy pavement in several places.

"The road is icy on several roads, especially in the Vaudreuil sector, west of the island of Montreal, as well as everywhere in Montérégie, along the river on highways 20 and 30," noted the MTQ spokesperson.

"Moving away from Montreal, it gets better (...) On the other hand, as we approach the Quebec region, the road is snowy with reduced visibility depending on the places because of winds."

Lacombe also noted restrictions that prevent heavy trucks in the Quebec City region and on the North Shore. These restraints were in effect on Route 138 between Beaupré and Sainte-Catherine as well as on Route 381 north between the municipalities of Saint-Urbain and Fernand-et-Boileau.

Power outages

According to Hydro Quebec, around 137,000 customers were affected due to 125 outages on the network. Hyrdo Quebec noted that it is having an issue with its website and the exact numbers posted on the power outages map is not correct as of Sunday morning.

Bilan des pannes à 8 h 00 : près de 130 000 clients touchés, majoritairement sur la Rive-Sud de Montréal. Nous éprouvons quelques difficultés avec les données du bilan par région. Mais la carte Info-Pannes est à jour.

— Hydro-Québec (@hydroquebec) January 12, 2020

From ice to snow

The freezing rain warning has been lifted in the greater Montreal area, but the transition to snow should occur in the morning and stop in the afternoon.

In the Outaouais, sleet mixed with freezing rain should stop in the afternoon as well.

Southern Quebec avoided the worst of the storm as the region was hit with more sleet than freezing rain overnight from Saturday to Sunday. The situation is quite different in the east of the province.

"There is already 15 to 20 centimetres of snowfall in the Quebec region and it's probably more on the Charlevoix side," said Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault.

Strong gusts of 60 to 70-kilometre winds are expected during the storm, which may lead to more power outages.

Highways, roads, walkways and parking lots will be slick and icy.

Public Safety Canada is encouraging citizens to make an emergency plan and kit with drinking water, food, medicine, a first aid kit and a flashlight.

More information on emergency planning can be found on the agency's website

With reporting from CTV News Montreal.