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Quebec premier visits storm-stricken Magdalen Islands

Quebec Premier Jean Charest is skipping out on the second day of the national assembly's winter session to visit people stricken by power blackouts in the Magdalen Islands.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest is skipping out on the second day of the national assembly's winter session to visit people stricken by power blackouts in the Magdalen Islands.

Charest will be joined Wednesday morning by the president and CEO of Hydro-Québec, Thierry Vandal.

About 2,250 homes and businesses are still in the dark following an ice storm that hit the area and knocked over power lines over the weekend.

About 150 Hydro-Québec workers are working around the clock after arriving Monday with hundreds of hydro poles, dozens of trucks and heavy equipment that arrived by specially-chartered ferries from Prince Edward Island.

The goal overnight Tuesday was to reestablish power to about 750 clients, said Hydro-Québec spokesperson Catherine Bujold, principally on Havre-Aubert and Havre-aux-Maisons — two of the islands hardest hit by the storm.

Improving weather through the day on Tuesday helped workers restore power to about 1,300 households in Quebec's Îles-de-la-Madeleine, which are in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence between Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

"We worked all night, to prepare our repairs, and we've already installed new poles for the majority [of the area]," said Hydro-Québec spokeswoman Sabrina Bossé earlier on Tuesday.

The cold weather is expected to become less of a threat for residents, as temperatures are warming up and should reach 0 C by Wednesday morning.

Some people have been keeping warm with generators and woodstoves and melting ice to get clean water.

"For the last couple of days the freezing rain stuck to the grass like, and we just took the ice and put it on top of the woodstove and let it melt," said Alan Clark, a fisherman who lives on Grosse-Île.