Cleanup begins after powerful thunderstorms wreak havoc across Quebec

Neighbourhoods across southern Quebec are cleaning up following a powerful summer storm that downed trees and knocked out power for thousands.

Hydro-Québec reported more than 105,000 clients were in the dark at the height of the thunderstorms on Thursday evening. Geneviève Chouinard, spokesperson for the public utility, said broken tree branches came into contact with wires.

As of Friday morning, Hydro-Québec crews are still on the ground, working to restore electricity to areas including Montreal, the Montérégie and the Outaouais. As of 9 a.m., nearly 20,000 clients are still without power.

Heavy rain and strong winds hit several regions, including Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan in Lanaudière. The bad bout of weather knocked over trailers, tore down power lines and damaged several buildings.

As the storm descended on the area, resident Robert Desnoyers says he closed his home’s door just in time. As he waited out the rain, he heard trees fall around him.

“All hell broke loose,” he said. 

Simon Legault, a meterologist with Environment Canada, says it is likely a tornado touched down in the area, but the weather agency has not yet confirmed if that is the case.

At the peak of the storm, winds reached up to 120 kilometres per hour in Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan.

“We are seeing a lot of damage, caused mainly by winds,” he said.

In Montreal, the storm led to flight delays. The Montreal Trudeau International Airport said a lightning alert disrupted aircraft flight schedules, ground operations and baggage deliveries.

— With files from Global News’ Phil Carpenter and The Canadian Press

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