Tornado warnings lifted in Quebec after storm damages buildings, downs power lines

All weather warnings and watches in Quebec are over, after Saturday's storm that damaged buildings, uprooted trees and led to the death of a woman when her boat capsized.

Thousands still without power following Saturday storm that led to death of Gatineau woman

The storm downed trees and power lines, as seen here in Saint-Sauveur, in the Laurentians. (Valérie-Micaela Bain/Radio-Canada)

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.

Fierce winds toppled trees on Bourdages Street in Quebec City on Saturday. (Pascale Lacombe/Radio-Canada)

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. 

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.

High winds in Quebec City ripped part of the roof off of a seven-storey condo building, forcing dozens of residents out of their homes. (Steve Jolicoeur/Radio-Canada)

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.

WATCH | Drivers clear a road south of Lost River in the Laurentians.

Drivers clear blocked roads in the Laurentians

1 month ago
Duration 0:22
Drivers break up a pine tree using a strap to clear a road south of Lost River in the Laurentians.

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.

The bell tower of the Saint-Fidèle de Fassett church in Outaouais was destroyed on Saturday. (Submitted by Chantale Lauzon)

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


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