Thousands of people in Canada still face travel issues and have no power as US storm death toll rises | CBC News

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The last:

  • Pockets of power outages remain in Ontario and Quebec.
  • Via Rail resumes service along a key corridor after storm delays.
  • Sunwing says return flights for stranded Canadians will continue through Friday.
  • New Brunswick Power restores power to most customers.
  • Communities on the southwest coast of BC on flood watch.
  • Buffalo, New York, braces for more snow as police deploy to enforce the travel ban.

Thousands of people in Canada were still without power or facing travel headaches on Tuesday, days after ferocious winter storms hit just before Christmas.

The storms have wreaked havoc on power grids and travel plans for the past four days.

  • Are you stranded due to flight or train cancellations? We want to talk to you. Email or join us live in the comments now.

While the number of outages has dropped significantly, tens of thousands of people remained without power Tuesday as crews continued to work to repair power lines downed by high winds and downed trees, complicated by heavy snowfall making access to some sites difficult. .

Quebec remains the most troubled place, with around 30,000 homes and businesses without power. Hydro-Québec said Capitale-Nationale, the Laurentides and Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean are among the hardest-hit regions.

Hydro-Québec said it cannot give a restoration schedule for all customers because trees and other objects prevent crews from accessing areas that are already difficult to reach. The company said it is using around 1,200 hydroelectric rigs from across the province and 10 helicopters to clear roads and complete repair work.

About 6,000 homes and businesses still without power are in Ontario, the vast majority of them in the Georgian Bay region north of Toronto, Hydro One said as it continued its fourth day of restoration from the storm.

WATCH | Hydro One crews in ‘final leg’ of power restoration in Ontario:

Hydro One crews in ‘final leg’ of power restoration in Ontario

Despite access being hampered by snow and ice, crews are working to restore power to remaining customers in Ontario, says Hydro One spokeswoman Tiziana Baccega Rosa.

The utility said it expects to restore power to the majority of affected customers by the end of the day, and the hardest-to-reach farmhouses “in the coming days,” spokeswoman Tiziana Baccega Rosa said.

She said weather conditions have prevented the utility from taking helicopters and boats to the water to reach seasonal properties on islands or with only water access.

New Brunswick Power had reconnected nearly everyone who had lost power Tuesday afternoon.

A man pushes a slow plow.
Mike Gippon shovels snow from the driveway in front of his home in Buffalo, New York, on Monday. (Joseph Cooke/Buffalo News/The Associated Press)

US storm death toll rises

South of the border, storm-battered Buffalo, New York, was bracing for fresh snow Tuesday as it still struggled to recover from an epic blizzard that killed at least 34 people in the region.

Mayor Byron Brown’s office announced seven additional storm-related deaths Tuesday, bringing the total in Buffalo to 27, along with at least seven deaths in the suburbs.

State and military police were dispatched to enforce the ban on driving on snow-covered streets. County Executive Mark Poloncarz said police would be stationed at entrances to Buffalo and at major intersections.

Passengers are seen waiting for transportation at the airport in Cancun, Mexico, on Christmas Day.
Passengers are shown early Christmas Day as they wait at the airport in Cancun, Mexico, after their delayed flight back to Canada was cancelled. (Hina Itsaso/The Canadian Press)

The US National Weather Service forecast up to two inches of snow could fall in Erie County, which includes Buffalo.

While this is a relatively small amount, it is expected to make it more difficult to remove the 4 feet of snow that fell in some places starting on Christmas Eve. Authorities said the city’s airport will be closed until Wednesday morning.

The rest of the United States is also reeling from the ferocious storm, with at least two dozen more deaths reported in other parts of the country and power outages in communities from Maine to Washington state. The storm claimed 57 lives, more than half in western New York, officials said Monday.

BC Flood Watch

In British Columbia, crews were making progress restoring power after winter hit the West Coast. BC Hydro said fewer than 1,000 customers, mainly in the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, remained without power, a significant reduction since the height of the storm.

Despite BC Hydro’s progress, people in southwestern BC were preparing Tuesday for potential flooding.

Rain warnings and flood watches remained in effect Tuesday as two successive storms are forecast to bring between 60 and 120 millimeters of rain by Tuesday night, according to Environment Canada.

Coastal flooding near the Strait of Georgia was expected around high tide Tuesday morning, the agency said. Vancouver was bracing for an elevated risk of flooding due to a storm surge with high winds and high tide.

The province urged people to stay away from fast-flowing rivers and unstable banks.

People in BC are also still dealing with the aftermath of a deadly bus crash on the Christmas Eve highway that police suspect may have been caused by freezing weather. Four people were killed and dozens injured in the Ebus crash east of Merritt near the Loon Lake exit.

Trains, planes and luggage

Hundreds of Canadians have been stranded for days in Mexico after Sunwing canceled their return flights home, with many accusing the airline of “abandoning” them by not rebooking them on new flights or not making it clear where they will stay while they wait to leave.

“Several return flights continue to be affected by delays due to crew and aircraft displacement as a result of severe weather disruptions across Canada,” the company said in a statement released Tuesday.

Sunwing said it is working “24 hours” to get passengers home.

“We have completed two recovery flights so far this week, have planned another eight recovery flights, which are scheduled to depart up to and including December 30, 2022, and are currently finalizing recovery plans for our remaining passengers at destination. ” the company said. said.

For southbound flights, Sunwing announced Monday afternoon, via Twitter, that the baggage belt at Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson International Airport was not working and, as a result, could not guarantee that checked baggage from clients will accompany them on the departure plane. .

Early Tuesday morning, the airport posted on Twitter that the baggage carousel in question was operational again.

However, due to high passenger volume and staffing issues, the airport is still dealing with baggage delivery delays for arriving passengers, Tori Gass, a spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, told CBC News. on Tuesday.

“We’ve brought in personnel from other parts of the airport, as many as we could, to help the airlines and put more bodies in the baggage halls,” Gass said.

WATCH | Delays and interruptions in pearson airport:

Pearson airport brings in staff to help airlines minimize further delays

Spokesperson Tori Gass says the Greater Toronto Airport Authority has been working “behind the scenes” to support airlines as they work to resolve delays and disruptions caused by winter storms.

For train travelers, Via Rail planned to have trains running again on Tuesday from Toronto to Ottawa, as well as from Ottawa to Montreal. Via said trips from Toronto to Montreal will be on a “modified schedule” but warned of potential delays.

Service was canceled on Christmas Day and Boxing Day due to a CN train derailment Saturday near Grafton, Ontario. The accident closed a section of track and left passengers trapped on board the trains for hours over the weekend.

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