Montreal 'devastated' by ice storm that knocked out power to part of Canada

Half the city without electricity, all schools closed and streets strewn with trees: the material damage is considerable Thursday, April 6 in Montreal, particularly affected by the ice storm which fell the day before on the east of Canada

Montreal 'devastated' by ice storm that knocked out power to part of Canada

Half the city without electricity, all schools closed and streets strewn with trees: the material damage is considerable Thursday, April 6 in Montreal, particularly affected by the ice storm which fell the day before on the east of Canada.

"Montreal is devastated" but the situation is "under control," said Quebec Minister of Economy and Energy Pierre Fitzgibbon during a press briefing on Thursday, as freezing rain warnings were lifted. .

In total in the country, 1.2 million homes were still without electricity Thursday morning, including 1.1 million in Quebec, due to the fall of trees which gave way under the weight of the ice and damaged the lines electrical.

Traffic lights, bicycles, cars, vegetation ... in Montreal, everything had been covered by a thick layer of ice since Wednesday evening, freezing the French-speaking metropolis of Quebec. Preliminary data shows that 3 to 4 cm of ice fell on the city in a few hours.

Biggest power outage in Quebec in 20 years

Centers have been opened to accommodate residents without electricity, as temperatures approach zero. It could take several days to restore power to everyone.

"In the last 20 years, it's the worst ice storm we've had," Jean-Marc Grondin told AFP. This 64-year-old retiree, who lives in the Plateau, a central district of the city, went out to see the electrical transformer which caught fire after a tree fell on Wednesday.

A few meters further, city agents are hard at work: “There are many blocked streets, trees across the street, destroyed cars. It's amazing that there are no deaths," said Samuel, a municipal officer who did not give his last name.

"It's going to take several weeks to clean up the whole town," he adds, sawing in his hand, as he picks up tree branches blocking a street.

This is Quebec's biggest power outage since the 1998 ice storm, which plunged the province into chaos for several weeks. "Weather events like we've just experienced, we're going to have more and more of them, they're going to be more and more important," said Sophie Brochu, CEO of the electricity company Hydro-Québec, in reference to climate change. .

"We are thinking of the people of Quebec and Eastern Ontario affected by yesterday's storm, and we thank the crews clearing the roads and restoring power," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted.