All schools in the Center de services scolaire de Montréal (CSSDM) will be closed Thursday due to freezing rain that plunged nearly 955,000 Hydro-Quebec customers into darkness across the province.
“Due to the power outages affecting many of its buildings and the uncertainty regarding the restoration of service by Hydro-Québec, the CSSDM is now informing the population of its territory that all establishments, daycare services and CSSDM administrative offices will be closed for the whole day on April 6,” the CSSDM said on its website Thursday evening.
No course or distance learning is planned for all primary, secondary and adult students. Only staff in essential services will have to perform work, face-to-face or telework.
At 9:31 p.m. Wednesday, Hydro-Québec counted 954,973 customers without electricity across the province, including 447,259 in Montreal, 198,006 in Montérégie and 125,967 in Outaouais.
In the latter region, more than half of Hydro-Québec customers are without electricity.
The metropolitan area is still under a freezing rain warning with risk of thunderstorms, and accumulations that can reach 10 to 20 millimeters depending on the sector.
At 4:05 p.m., the Department of Transport announced the closure of the Victoria Bridge, between Montreal and Saint-Lambert, for “an indefinite period” due to “difficult weather conditions”. The detour is via the Samuel-De Champlain bridge.
Footage taken circulating on social media shows huge broken trees, cut wires and other disasters caused by the spring storm.
The 911 Central is currently receiving “a high volume of calls related to the ice storm,” the Montreal Police Service said on Twitter. “To report the damage to your insurer, no police report is required. If a situation endangers safety or traffic, contact 911 immediately,” she said.
Spokesperson at Hydro-Québec, Gabrielle Leblanc assures that teams are “hard at work on the ground”, but that the weather conditions are difficult for the technicians.
“There are broken branches, affected wires. It was the combination of precipitation with the wind that caused the breaks in the network, “she says. Hydro-Québec plans to provide an update on operations in the coming hours.
The Minister of Public Security, François Bonnardel, called on motorists to adapt their driving and to be careful. “The coordination center has been in place since yesterday and the teams from the Ministry of Public Security are in communication with all the stakeholders. Hydro-Quebec is mobilized,” he said on Twitter.
Meteorologist at Environment Canada, André Cantin reminds us that this phenomenon is not exceptional at the beginning of April. But, according to him, it is most likely the last whiff of winter.
“Sunshine can be expected thereafter,” he said, “with rising mercury, temperatures reaching 15 or even 20 degrees by the middle of next week. “. For the record, he recalls, Quebec had experienced a similar meteorological phenomenon, on April 8, 2019, with ice that had turned into snow.