Violent storm: Mother nature hits Pays-d’en-Haut

Last Saturday, a powerful thunderstorm tore through the region, leaving thousands of people without power, tearing up trees with roots and destroying homes. This rare weather phenomenon is called derecho. The cities’ public works and fire brigade intervened against citizens over the weekend.

Last Tuesday, two-thirds of the population of Sainte-Adèle still had no electricity. In Saint-Sauveur, more than half of the residents also had no electricity.

Emergency measures in Saint-Sauveur

The roof of Mayor Gariépy’s house was literally split by several trees. Fortunately, the residents of Maine traveled.

Chalet Pauline-Vanier is open to residents of Saint-Sauveur to take a shower, fetch drinking water and connect their electronic devices. People can take the branches to the Sommet Saint-Sauveur car park, where the public works team is on site.

“We have a good collaboration. If people can not get there, they can leave the branches at home and people from the public works department will go through the streets to look for them, ”said Saint-Sauveur mayor Jacques Gariépy. He himself was hit by trees that fell on his residence.

“We were hard hit in Saint-Sauveur, especially the heart of Saint-Sauveur, Mont Habitant and Lac des Bec-Scies,” he said.

Since 6 p.m. Saturday, City Services has been working to remove branches from the streets to access properties. “It was our priority. Now we go there on guard, and the response is very fast,” said Mr Gariépy.

Sainte-Adèle, “isolated from the world”

According to the mayor of Sainte-Adèle, Michèle Lalonde, the city would be in Hydro-Québec’s priorities as the town hall and fire station do not have electricity.

Fortunately, part of the center is still hip. The two CHSLDs were also quickly reconnected, the mayor rejoices. However, it is difficult to get an estimate from Hydro-Quebec about when the homes in Adelaide will be reconnected.

“We all want to look at our phones. They are also taken by surprise. These are big failures. Sainte-Adèle is so big. And there is damage on all four corners. The Mont-Rolland and Loup-Garou sectors are particularly affected.

(Photo credit: Josée Pilotte)

The municipality has cleared the streets as much as possible, the mayor explains. “Councilors are in the districts with their chainsaws to help. People are asked to be extremely careful. It’s still dangerous. However, the municipality cannot intervene against certain damages. “Where there are trees leaning on electrical wires, the city does not touch it. It must be Hydro-Quebec. »

“We are really isolated from the world. Phone lines do not work. If we did not all have a mobile device, it would be very problematic. However, the mobile network is unstable. Although it works well most of the time, it may fail in a half an hour, even an hour, says Mrs. Lalonde.

Refuge and solidarity

The Place des Citoyens currently serves as a refuge for those who need it, for water or to recharge electronic devices. “Unfortunately, we do not have showers,” Ms Lalonde says, however. On Monday, Garde-Mangeren even provided food, such as cakes and coffee. The municipality’s staff is also on site to assist the citizens, just as the mayor is when we call her. “It’s coming in, it’s coming out. The parking lot is full. There are a lot of people.”

“Morale is good. People all want to help each other. Here, the IGA grocery store has even given restaurant owners access to its freezers so they don’t lose their food. […] There is a great deal of solidarity. Mrs Lalonde is glad that the storm did not occur during a heat wave or a cold winter. “We should have declared a state of emergency, called the Red Cross and made beds. »

The eco-center was extraordinarily open Tuesday and Wednesday to receive branches and broken trees.

Power outages = blackout

According to Alain Paquette, Hydro-Québec’s Environmental Advisor, the situation is slowly improving. “Currently, we have a total of 700 teams, so 1,400 workers in the field,” he explained Tuesday.

“The most affected cities in the Pays-d’en-Haut are Sainte-Adèle, Saint-Sauveur and Saint-Adolphe-d’Howard,” he said in an interview with the Journal. For Rivièredu-Nord, the most affected cities are Saint-Hippolyte, Saint-Jérôme and Sainte-Sophie.

According to the mayor of Saint-Sauveur, communication with Hydro-Québec is difficult. “In the field, we see them working, but we do not know which sectors are prioritized. We have no warnings, ”apologizes Jacques Gariépy.

The obstacle to injury

In the territory, it is the damage caused by the storm and above all the availability of the network

(Photo credit: Alyssa Dupont)

from Hydro-Québec, which is slowing down the work.

“With the torn trees, the smashed poles, the branches in contact with the Hydro-Québec network, we need to take stock of the situation. Then you have to install new piles if necessary, and in a forest area it is more complicated with felled trees in the Hydro-Québec sector, ”emphasizes Alain Paquette.

The Hydro-Québec Environmental Advisor also notes that the situation consists of a large number of small crashes. “One in three outcomes affects five customers or less.”.

“A lot of people will be back on duty by the end of the day (Tuesday). However, some sectors will still have to wait a few days,” he adds. Alain Paquette explains that he can not announce the sectors that will require right now more time to recover as it depends on the inventory.

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