1,000s without power as blast of winter reminds Quebecers Mother Nature doesn't heed calendar

More than 65,000 Hydro-Québec customers were without power in Quebec by late night Wednesday — about 10,000 of them in Montreal — as what most hope is the last storm of the season walloped much of the province.

Roads closed, power lines down as spring storm blows through Quebec

While Montreal is mostly spared from the snow, Environment Canada has issued a winter storm warning for Quebec City, Charlevoix, Saguenay and the Gaspé. (Maxime Corneau/Radio-Canada)

Roads are closed and thousands of homes are without power in parts of Quebec today, as what most people hope is the last storm of the season wallops much of the province.

The hardest hit area is south of Quebec City, where major highways are closed for the second time in less than a month.

The Ministry of Transport is asking people in the Chaudières-Appalaches region to stay home.

"Because of the weather conditions, we can't ensure people's safety," said spokesperson Guillaume Paradis.

Pick-up truck driver critically hurt

Provincial police say the driver of a pick-up truck is in critical condition after hitting a heavy truck head on in Saint-Léon-de-Standon, 85 kilometres south of Quebec City.

Police say the victim was trying to pass a vehicle when he collided with the oncoming truck.

In Quebec City, police have reported 17 collisions since last night because of the hazardous driving conditions.

The St. Lawrence River in Quebec City was inches away from overflowing onto Champlain Boulevard Wednesday morning. By noon, the roadway had to be closed. (Cimon Leblanc/Radio-Canada)

In Quebec City, Champlain Boulevard was closed to traffic around noon, after the St. Lawrence River breached its banks, spilling onto the roadway.

A storm surge warning remains in effect there, as well as on l'Île-d'Orléans and along the south shore, due to the risk of  coastal flooding.

Environment Canada warns people close to the shoreline to remain vigilant and look out for changing conditions.

More snow on the way

While Montreal was spared the brunt of the storm, other parts of Quebec, including Quebec City, Charlevoix, Saguenay, the Gaspé and the North Shore, could see up to 20 centimetres of snow by Thursday morning.

Around 10 centimetres of snow had already fallen in the Quebec City region by midday, and another 10 centimetres is expected tonight and into tomorrow. Strong winds were recorded on l'Île-d'Orléans earlier Wednesday, with gusts up to 96 km/h.

The Beauce could receive up to 25 millimetres of freezing rain by the end of the day and some more snow this evening.

"When we do get snow at this time of year it's going to cause a storm," said Environment Canada meteorologist Steve Boily.

"It's a mess."
Highway 116 in Lévis was 'like a skating rink' on Wednesday morning. (Geneviève Poulin/Radio-Canada)

As of 11 p.m. more than 65,000 Hydro-Québec customers were without power in Quebec — about 10,000 of them in Montreal.

Storm hampers commute, flights

For those travelling by air, there are flight cancellations and delays at the Jean-Lesage airport in Quebec City.

Some flights are delayed or cancelled at the Montreal Trudeau airport, so it's best to check ahead before leaving for your flight.

Orléans Express, Quebec's main intercity bus company, is also warning clients that all departures are conditional

The company warns that there are delays for morning departures out of Gaspé, Rimouski and Quebec City.

Rain, rain

The rain is expected to last until at least Wednesday evening in Montreal as the storm continues. (Simon-Marc Charron/Radio-Canada)

The regions of Montreal, the Montérégie and the Eastern Townships are dealing with both rainfall and wind warnings.

Environment Canada warns those areas can see up to 30 millimetres of rain by tonight.

"We got a little bit of snow that wasn't expected, but it's turned back to rain now," said Boily.

Strong winds of up to 90 km/h are expected Wednesday evening in Montreal and Laval, but will gradually die down overnight.

With files from Quebec AM and Radio-Canada


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