Deadly storms in U.S., blackouts in Canada: What the winter weather's like today
RYAN HERMENS/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Thousands in Quebec, Eastern Ontario and New Brunswick woke up in darkness Thursday morning amid freezing rain, snow and strong winds. In the United States, the weather's taken a far deadlier turn, with tornadoes razing homes in Virginia and killing up to four people. Here's what we know so far
JILL NANCE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Storms systems brought tornadoes to the East Coast, killing four in Virginia, and heavy snow that cancelled hundreds of flights in the Midwest. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency Wednesday night after tornadoes damaged homes and left thousands without power across the state.
The tiny town of Waverly took the brunt of the storm. The Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said a two-year-old child and two men, ages 50 and 26, were killed there during the storm. Their bodies were found about 300 yards from their mobile home. Meanwhile, in Appomattox County, a funnel cloud left a path of destruction, injuring seven people and killing one man, state police said.
In Waverly, witnesses said the storm swept through with little warning. Timothy Williams said a friend had just come by to take his new car for a drive when the storm hit. "It picked the car right off the ground, and put it right back on the ground," said Williams, 44. He said they remained in the car until the storm passed.
Elsewhere, officials in South Carolina said a man was killed Wednesday when a tree fell on him.
IN THE U.S. MIDWEST
In the Midwest, a powerful storm brought heavy snow and biting winds, leading to mass flight cancellations at Chicago airports and school closings in several states. Northern Indiana was expected to see the heaviest snow, as powerful winds blowing off Lake Michigan could bury the area in up to 46 cm. Parts of Michigan could also see more than 30 cm snow, and some schools closed ahead of the storm. Most of the state was under a winter storm warning that extends until at least Thursday afternoon.
With parts of Quebec under winter storm warnings after Wednesday's icy weather, reported 180,000 customers were without electricity as of 11:15 a.m. Thursday. Most of the blackouts were in the southwestern part of the province, including almost 61,000 in the Laurentians region north of Montreal; nearly 60,000 northeast of the city; more than 12,000 in Quebec City; 3,400 in central Quebec; 5,500 in Montreal; and a little more than 10,000 in the Montérégie region south of Montreal.
Hydro-Québec said in a statement it was working to restore service as quickly as possible. "Power should be restored for most affected customers by this evening," it said, targeting 11 p.m. for most customers. But it cautioned some Quebeckers may have to wait until Saturday.
In Montreal, pedestrians were forced to walk gingerly and keep an eye on the numerous patches of ice to avoid slipping, while massive puddles awaited them at some intersections.
Hydro One said 22,000 people had no power in Ontario, mostly in the eastern part of the province. The power utility, which services mainly rural Ontario, said power should be restored throughout the day.
Toronto's Pearson International Airport had some power trouble at Terminal 1 on Thursday morning. The airport also warned that winter weather could cause flight delays.
Update 2: Power has been fully restored in Terminal 1. As always, please check flight info with your airline or on https://t.co/im60P3UINn— Toronto Pearson (@TorontoPearson) February 25, 2016
IN ATLANTIC CANADA
Freezing rain has caused power outages in southern New Brunswick, forcing the closing of many schools. The province's Emergency Measures Organization is warning residents about a low-pressure weather system that has made travelling dangerous. The forecast is calling for several hours of freezing rain in northern regions – and there is a chance of localized flooding in other areas.
Southern New Brunswick had about 5,800 customers without electricity, primarily in the Fredericton and Chipman areas. NB Power said the outages were caused by a buildup of ice on power lines and equipment.