Tornado warnings lifted in Quebec after storm damages buildings, downs power lines
Thousands still without power following Saturday storm that led to death of Gatineau woman
All weather warnings and watches in Quebec are over.
Following a fast-moving thunderstorm that battered several parts of Quebec Saturday, Environment Canada had issued a tornado watch for Eastern Townships and other regions, including Beauce and Montmagny-L'Islet.
Hydro-Québec crews were out throughout the day managing widespread power outages following Saturday's storm that damaged buildings, uprooted trees and led to the death of a woman when her boat capsized.
Environment Canada had issued a tornado watch across many parts of western, central and southern regions on Saturday, most of which ended by 10 p.m. ET.
While no tornadoes were recorded in the province Saturday, the storm packed winds between 83 and 144 km/h, downing hydro poles and leaving hundreds of thousands of Quebecers in the dark.
"We've never seen something like that, it was like a hurricane," said Gilles Saulnier, a city councillor in Morin-Heights, in the Laurentians. "All the trees started to shake like we've never seen before."
Saulnier said those living in more remote areas of the region could be without power for a few weeks, and he's anticipating a shortage of gas as many are turning to generators.
"I just have to survive without electricity," said resident Gisela Potthast Waddell, who had a tree fall on a power line near her home, smashing part of her car.
As of Sunday night, over 276,000 Hydro-Québec customers were still without power. Most of the outages were in the Outaouais, Laurentians, Lanaudière and Mauricie regions.
Roughly 550,000 customers were without power at the storm's peak on Sunday, it said.
Roughly 1,000 technicians, including employees with the Crown corporation, private contractors and workers from New Brunswick are working to restore power to residents, Hydro-Québec said.
Spokesperson Maxence Huard-Lefebvre said it's hard to say how long repairs will take.
"Unfortunately, given the number of people affected and the extent of the damage, we can already say that there will still be people affected tomorrow," he said.
Lefebvre said most people should have their power later Sunday, starting with those in the hardest-hit regions.
Deux maisons une à côté de l’autre sur l’avenue du Sémaphore à Québec. Courte nuit pour les propriétaires. Aucun blessé. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/rcqc?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#rcqc</a> <a href="https://t.co/a2sS67327e">pic.twitter.com/a2sS67327e</a>—@ColinCtPaulette
Woman dies, buildings damaged
In Gatineau, Que., a 51-year-old woman died when her boat capsized on the Ottawa River in the city's Masson-Angers sector, police told Radio-Canada.
The woman fell in the water and was taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said.
In Quebec City, a number of people are out of their homes Sunday after high winds ripped part of the roof off of their seven-storey condo building.
No one was injured, and the 72-unit building was evacuated.
People living on the first four floors were eventually allowed to go back in, but the upper floors will remain empty due to concerns over water infiltration.
In the Mauricie region, Radio-Canada reported that 200 trees had fallen at the Du Moulin Golf Club in Trois-Rivières.
There was major damage in the Laurentians, including Saint Sauveur, Val-Morin and Val-David. Roads were seen blocked with downed trees and power lines.
In Val-Morin, the municipality is asking people to limit their water usage because the power outage is affecting the local pumping station.
Getting around is also tough with tree branches and power lines down on several parts of the 117 between Sainte-Adèle and Val-David.
Video posted to social media also showed heavy winds hitting the Saint-Lin-Laurentides area.
In Lanaudière, two primary schools were damaged by the storm, according to a note published by the Centre de services scolaire des Samares, which says it's working with experts to assess the situation and organize the safe return to class.
Earlier Saturday, Environment Canada said conditions were favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that could produce tornadoes in an area stretching from the Eastern Townships through central Quebec — including Trois-Rivières — and up to Quebec City.
Tornado warnings were issued for the following regions: Eastern Townships, Beauce, Drummondville-Bois-Francs, Mauricie, Quebec City and Montmagny-L'Islet. They were all lifted by Saturday evening.
Environment Canada warned the situation was "dangerous and potentially life-threatening," urging people to take cover immediately should threatening weather approach.
With files from Shawn Lyons, Radio-Canada