Freezing rain caused ice to accumulate on power lines and trees sometimes toppling them. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC News)

Ice storm cuts power to over a quarter million homes

A nasty storm brought freezing rain and strong winds to southwestern Quebec on April 8, 2019 downing branches, trees and electrical lines. Power failures affected more than 310,000 homes and crews worked all night to try to restore service.

Bad memories revived

The storm brought back memories of a gargantuan ice storm in January 1998 which toppled electrical pylons, paralyzing Montreal and Ottawa and affecting parts of four provinces for days, and in some areas, months.  Temperatures hovered around 0 C making it hard for people to stay warm in most homes where electricity is needed to heat or to trigger oil and gas heating systems. Over 600,000 evacuated their homes. Vehicles were destroyed, the military was called in and Montreal’s water filtration plant  reportedly came within a hair of shutting down. Nearly 1,000 people were injured and 35 died.

Murielle Simard is one of many people who had to leave their homes in Laval because of the power failure. Hotels nearby were full and she travelled 18km to find a room. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC News)

Snow coming next

While yesterday’s storm hit a smaller area, it caused damage and disruptions and the closure of many schools.

Areas north and northeast of Montreal were hardest hit.

And nasty weather is not over. A weather warning was issued for the same region for the coming five to 15 centimetres of snow.

In January 1998, huge electrical pylons were toppled by accumulated ice, cutting power to homes in parts of four Canadian provinces and the bordering U.S. (Robert Galbraith/Canadian Press)

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