NEWS

Strong winds leave thousands without power

11/25/2014 07:35 EST | Updated 01/25/2015 05:59 EST
Power is slowly being restored to people across the province after high winds knocked out electricity and caused damage from the Outaouais to the Lower Saint Lawrence region.

Hydro-Québec has about 85 crews across the province working to restore power to tens of thousands of Quebecers.

The utility says it will take some time before it can get to everyone.

"The wind is still pretty strong which is always a problem for us," said Hydro-Québec spokesman Gary Sutherland. "Quite often we will have [circuit] breakers that will go off on the system that we can put back. But if the wind is still out there blowing like it is this morning, we tend to get a lot of branches touching lines which really sets the [breakers] off."

At Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport overnight, wind gusts were recorded at more than 100 km/h.

As of 7:30 a.m. about 60,000 Hydro-Québec clients remained without power.

In Montreal, only a handful of people and businesses remain without power.  At its worst, some 8,000 lost electricity.

The wind also pulled the roof off a recently-renovated, four-storey building on Beaudry Street.

"It was like a mini tornado," said the building's caretaker André Morel. "We heard a crack, the back part of the roof lifted, and ended up on the ground in front."

Nobody was hurt, but the debris damaged a number of cars parked on the street below.

Damage is estimated at $100,000.

About 40,000 clients remain without power in the Laurentians and Lanaudière regions, and some 10,000 clients are without electricity in the Lower Saint Lawrence region. 

In Quebec City, about 5,600 remain without power.  Firefighters responded to about 50 calls after wind blew over temporary car shelters.

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