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More than 1 million without power as freezing rain coats southwestern Quebec

After Wednesday's ice storm, over one million Hydro-Québec customers are still without power and many schools are closed.

Schools cancel classes, Quebec government to update at 9 a.m. ET and Hydro-Québec at 11 a.m. ET

Quebec ministers give update on storm damage, power outages

11 minutes

Live in
11 minutes

Quebec government gives an update from the National Assembly on plans to restore power, clean up from freezing rain.

The latest:

  • Quebec's ministers of public security and the Montreal area hold a news conference at 9 a.m. to address the outages. Watch live here.
  • Schools are cancelled in much of the Montreal area.
  • As of 8 a.m. ET Thursday, 1.1 million Hydro-Québec customers were without power.
  • Hydro-Québec says it's not possible to provide a timeline for power restoration, but will give an update at 11 a.m. ET. CBC will have live coverage here.
  • Thursday's forecast calls for rain and a high of 11 C in Montreal.
  • If the power or data on your device is low, get your storm updates on CBC Lite. It's our low-bandwidth, text-only website.
  • To keep an eye on the outages, click here.

More than one million customers are still without power Thursday morning after an ice storm coated much of the Montreal area and southwestern Quebec in a layer of ice.

In a statement, Hydro-Québec said its crews have been working all night and 1,000 employees are on the ground. However, because the storm isn't over in parts of the province, more outages are possible.

Though it said it is "confident of being able to restore power for some impacted customers today," the utility says it cannot give a specific timeline. Some customers may still be out of power Friday and into the weekend.

Cendrix Bouchard, a spokesperson for Hydro-Québec, said the priority is to restore power in hospitals and municipal infrastructure.

"We're hoping to move as swiftly as we can, but there's a lot of work. You saw the pictures and images and video," he told CBC's Daybreak.

Quebec's minister responsible for public security, François Bonnardel, and the minister responsible for the Montreal-area, Pierre Fitzgibbon, will hold a news conference at 9 a.m. ET to address the situation. Hydro-Québec will hold a news conference to give an update at 11 a.m. ET. You can watch both updates here.

The outages are mainly caused by falling branches or trees that gave way under the weight of the ice. Most of those affected were in the Montreal area and the Outaouais region.

Montreal officials said they are still working on picking up branches and debris from the street, which could take days.

Philippe Sabourin, a spokesperson for the city, asked residents to help blue-collar workers by putting fallen branches on the curb to be picked up. He says about 300 trees fell in the city.

He also said to stay away from parks for the time being.

"Workers are concentrated on cleaning the city after this massive ice storm," Sabourin told Daybreak.

"I say massive because we got 40 millimetres of rain and nearly 15 millimetres of ice rain, so it's going to be a long journey for our crews."

WATCH | Montreal grapples with freezing rain:

Fallen tree branches causing issues around Montreal, amid freezing rain

16 hours ago

Duration 0:34

Hydro-Québec says most power outages due to fallen trees and power lines.

Most schools in the Montreal area closed

The English Montreal School Board, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, Lester B. Pearson School Board, Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board, Centre de services scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'Île and Centre de services scolaire de Montréal cancelled classes Thursday due to the weather conditions and power outages.

John Abbott College, Dawson College, Vanier College and Marianopolis College are also closed.

Parents can check their school's websites for more information.


Erika Morris

CBC News journalist

Erika Morris is a journalist at CBC Montreal.

    with files from Daybreak

    Credit belongs to : www.cbc.ca

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