Thousands of Canadians are spending another day in the cold and dark, as hydro crews continue working to restore electricity to those affected by the power outages caused by fierce winter storms last week.
As of early Monday morning, power was still out for just under 70,000 Hydro-Quebec customers, less than 30,000 Hydro One customers and just over 2,000 clients of NB Power.
Hydro One says it has restored power to more than 377,000 customers since the extreme weather began, but persisting road closures are impacting its crews’ ability to access restricted areas.
Hydro-Quebec says the majority of its remaining outages only affect between one and five customers at a time, meaning the work to restore service to all is taking a considerable amount of time.
A Christmas Eve train derailment is also continuing to wreak havoc on holiday travel plans in Ontario and Quebec.
After cancelling all Christmas Day trains on its Toronto-Ottawa and Toronto-Montreal routes, Via Rail tweeted Sunday evening that it was also cancelling all Boxing Day trains on the corridors due to the ongoing complications.
Southern Ontario’s Niagara Region is entering its third day under a state of emergency due to the storm, and some services like garbage and recycling collection have been cancelled for Boxing Day.
Environment Canada has issued a snow squall warning for the region and warned of reduced visibility due to snowfall that could last until Tuesday afternoon in some areas.
Other parts of southern Ontario like Barrie, Parry Sound and Peterborough are under similar warnings.
The weather agency has also issued wind and snowfall warnings for parts of Alberta and British Columbia, as well as for extreme cold in some parts of Manitoba, Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon.
Meanwhile, it says temperatures will rise well above the freezing mark throughout much of southern Quebec and Atlantic Canada beginning Wednesday.
Temperatures in Montreal are expected to rise to between 0 C and 9 C during the day and up to 7 C at night. Similar conditions are expected further east, with temperatures approaching 10 C in Fredericton and Saint John, N.B. and Charlottetown, while Halifax could hit 11 C on Saturday.
The warmer weather is expected to last at least four days, until New Year’s Eve.
On the other side of the country in British Columbia, four people died and dozens were injured after a bus rolled over on an icy highway on Saturday night.
Environment Canada warned of ice buildup from ongoing freezing rain in the southern area spanning Whistler and the Fraser Valley to the Okanagan Valley, as well as a special weather statement for much of the Interior, also for possible freezing rain.
THE CANADIAN PRESS