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A fallen tree lays lays across a road in Toronto after a windstorm that killed three people and left thousands without power.Chris Young/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The cleanup process continues after a wind storm that has been blamed for the deaths of three people, and left hundreds of thousands of homes in the dark.

As gusts reached more than 125 kilometres an hour in parts of Southern Ontario on Friday, Environment Canada issued a severe weather warning.

“It’s not unheard of,” operational meteorologist Steven Flisfeder said of the wind. “But it’s certainly not something we see every week.”

In Milton, Ont., a tree came down on two arborists Friday afternoon as they worked, striking them. The older of the two, a 28-year-old man, died at the scene. His 18-year-old colleague was rushed to hospital, where he was pronounced dead on Saturday.

“They were working on tree servicing, and as they were doing that, the wind picked up and a tree fell on the two individuals,” Staff Sergeant Jeff Foster with Halton Regional Police said.

The Ministry of Labour is investigating, he said.

In Hamilton, a man in his 50s was killed Friday evening after he tried to clear a downed power line from a roadway downtown and was electrocuted.

With many power outages still being reported across the region, police have cautioned people to contact emergency crews if they come across any downed wires, and not to try to move the wires themselves.

As of Sunday afternoon, utilities in Ontario and Quebec said they were making progress in efforts to reconnect hundreds of thousands of people blacked out by the storm.

Ontario’s Hydro One reported Sunday morning that approximately 100,000 customers remained in the dark, down from a peak of more than 200,000. It said utilities from across the province had been called in to assist.

Toronto Hydro crews were still working to reconnect some 4,200 customers. The city’s forestry crews continue to respond to calls related to damage caused by Friday’s wind storm and said they are still assessing the extent of the damage.

It will be a “lengthy clean up,” Mr. Flisfeder said.

He said the region was hit with two separate weather systems Friday, including a line of thunderstorms that crossed around 3 or 4 p.m. The wind peaked as a cold front moved through the area a couple hours later.

“That’s when the strongest winds hit,” he said.

Peel regional police said a tree came frighteningly close to striking a school bus in Mississauga. Police said 72 children between the ages of 7 and 10 were on the bus at the time, but there were no reports of injuries.

Pearson International Airport suspended operations for about two hours because of the extreme winds. The airport lifted its “ground stop” by about 8 p.m. on Friday.

With files from The Canadian Press

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