NEWS
08/30/2011 04:06 EDT | Updated 10/30/2011 05:12 EDT

Real Nadeau, Quebec Taxi Driver, Dies In Aftermath Of Sub-Tropical Storm Irene

An 81-year-old Quebec man who disappeared during post-tropical storm Irene has died in hospital, while rescue crews are still searching for another man who was swept into the Yamaska River northeast of Montreal.

Police said Tuesday that they believe the man left the cabin in the St-Gerard-des-Laurentides area Sunday night, when the storm was pummelling Eastern Canada and was trying to reach his family at a home about 12 kilometres away.

He was found unconscious two kilometres from his cabin.

It hasn't been confirmed that the storm, which hasn't yet been linked to any fatalities in Canada, contributed to his death.

Quebec provincial police are still looking for a taxi driver in his 60s whose car was swept into the Yamaska River about 100 kilometres northeast of Montreal on Monday after a culvert collapsed and part of the road was washed away.

Réal Nadeau's car and another vehicle were pulled into the water.

The taxi driver's car was recovered late Monday, but it was empty.

Two other men escaped with minor injuries after the collapse, which left a 30-metre-long hole.

The focus Tuesday was also on recovery and cleanup efforts as crews resumed their work to restore power after thousands were left without electricity in the Maritimes and Quebec.

After smacking southern Quebec on Sunday with heavy rain and howling winds, the system once called Hurricane Irene churned northeast Monday across the province and into Atlantic Canada.

In New Brunswick, progress is being made by NB Power, which has reduced the number of customers without electricity from more than 50,000 on Monday to about 9,000 Tuesday morning as high winds blew trees onto power lines and transformer fires were started during the weekend storm.

Aided by 12 crews from other provinces, New Brunswick teams have been working long hours to restore service, says NB Power spokeswoman Heather MacLean. About 4,400 customers are still without power in Fredericton. Almost 3,000 in Rothesay and a few thousand more in other pockets who are still waiting to get their electricity back. But the utility said it could take until Wednesday or Thursday to achieve that.

"We'll see some cleanup today, but just because of the sheer number of separate incidents that we have throughout the province, we are going to be going into tomorrow and possibly into early Thursday morning," MacLean said.

Severe flooding has also left residents in the west end of Oromocto -- one of the areas hit by heavy rains, with more than 80 millimetres falling during the storm -- with a massive cleanup after Sunday's flash flooding.

Mayor Faye Tidd said the fire department received 42 calls from residents reporting everything from minor flooding to major damage.

"The assessment they made was that some of them, eight houses, should really have electric inspectors come and take a look. They weren't taking any chances," he said.

Fredericton received 53 millimetres of rain, but the Doaktown area of central New Brunswick was hit the hardest, receiving 89 millimetres.

In Quebec, where the storm washed out roads, knocked down trees, and downed power lines, 25,000 clients were still without power Tuesday morning, compared to the 250,000 customer outages during the storm's peak Sunday, according to Hydro-Québec.

Most of those affected are in the Montérégie and Quebec City areas. In Montreal, power has been restored to most of the city.

But even losing power for a couple of days is enough to have an impact on customers, including business owners.

Restaurant owner Syed Shahzad Shah, for one, runs a Pakistani and Indian restaurant in Montreal's Park-Extension neighbourhood, and estimates he lost $5,000 worth of food.

Shah said it was a bad time to suffer the fallout from Irene, since Monday was the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid.

"I called to my customers [to say], 'Sorry, your reservation is cancelled,' so they [were] angry with me," he said.

Others affected by the storm included owners of about 300 homes in Quebec that were evacuated because of rising river waters.

A highway that was partially washed out by the storm in the Charlevoix region has been reopened.

Irene didn't soak Nova Scotia so much, but it did bring high winds.

Power is slowly being restored to about 17,000 customers who lost their electricity Monday morning. The outages stretched from Yarmouth in the southwest to Sydney in Cape Breton.

In P.E.I.., the high winds from post-tropical storm Irene caused travel restrictions and led to power outages and downed trees on Monday. A wind warning remained in effect for most of the day.

The largest outage was in the Wellington West area in the morning. About 6,000 customers were affected when a tree fell on a power line in Richmond, but power was restored within a couple of hours.

P.E.I. transportation officials were also out on the roads Monday cleaning up fallen trees and broken limbs.

All in all, though, Canada appeared to emerge relatively unscathed from the remnants of the powerful hurricane that killed at least 40 people in the U.S. and left millions of Americans without power.

Ryan Snoddon, a CBC meteorologist based in St. John's, said Irene's remnants will make for unusually humid weather in much of Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Those gusty southwest winds will also be pumping in very warm and sticky temperatures [with] humidex values into the 30s," Snoddon said. "Thanks to Irene, the forecast high in St. John's is 27 degrees. That would be the warmest temperature the city has seen all summer long."