Eastern Canada was affected by a severe ice storm on April 5 and 6. Quebec and Ontario, the two most populous provinces in the country, suffered an unprecedented meteorological phenomenon in the last 20 years. As of Thursday night, nearly a million Canadians were still without power, including in Montreal, a “devastated” city, in the words of Quebec’s finance minister.
Two people dead and almost a million without electricity is the balance left this Thursday by a major ice storm in eastern Canada, and which in its wake caused considerable damage, especially in Montreal.
Affected electrical network
The storm affected Canada’s most populous provinces of Quebec and Ontario, causing the largest damage to Quebec’s power grid since 1998, when the city was plunged into weeks-long chaos.
Authorities reported two deaths, an eastern Ontario resident who died from a falling tree on Wednesday, and another Quebec man struck by a branch he was trying to cut in his yard.
“This is a difficult day for Montrealers and for people across Quebec and parts of Ontario suffering from electrical damage,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
On Thursday night, highway services worked to clear streets and roads blocked by thousands of trees that fell under the weight of the ice, and as a consequence also damaged power lines.
“Montreal is devastated” but the situation is “under control,” Quebec’s Minister of Economy, Innovation and Energy, Pierre Fitzgibbon, told a press conference at a time when new freezing rain alerts were being raised.
Call to prudence
The authorities called for prudence by warning the population not to travel through wooded areas or approach trees and power lines that have fallen to the ground.
Numerous shelters have been set up to accommodate residents without power as temperatures approach freezing and work to restore power may still take several days. In total, about a million Canadians were still without power Thursday, the vast majority in Quebec.
Since Wednesday night, Montreal has been covered in a thick layer of ice. Preliminary data shows that 3 to 4 cm of ice fell on the city in just a few hours.
“Unfortunately, we can think that with climate change there will be more and more events of this type in the coming years,” acknowledged François Legault, premier of the province of Quebec.