Environment Canada said wind gusted at close to 120 kilometres per hour on Friday and on Sunday morning tens of thousands of people were still without power across Central Canada. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Hundreds of thousands without power following disastrous wind storm

Tens of thousands of people were still without power across Central Canada early Sunday morning following a windstorm that downed trees and power lines and left two people dead.

Environment Canada said wind gusted at close to 120 kilometres per hour on Friday in the wake of a cold front that moved across Ontario and Quebec.

Hydro One, Ontario’s largest power utility, said that by the end of Saturday more than 98,000 customers remained in the dark, down from a peak of about 200,000, while Toronto Hydro crews were working to reconnect some 7,000 customers, down from 68,000 at the height of the storm.

The city’s utility noted Saturday that outages could last for an extended period of time, adding that this was the third major storm to pummel the region in the spring season.

“We’re in a significant emergency state and are dealing with the after-effects of a major windstorm,” Toronto Hydro tweeted.

“Damage is severe and some outages will be lengthy.”

In Quebec, approximately 27,000 people remained in the dark early Sunday morning after the storm gusted through at speeds reaching 100 km/h. That was down from a peak of well over 200,000 on Saturday.

Hydro Quebec asked customers for patience as its crews worked to clear the downed trees and branches that damaged its grid in several areas of the province.

Most of the damage came on Friday, when police west of Toronto said two people died as a result of the winds.

Halton Regional Police said a tree fell on two men who were “working on tree servicing” on Friday afternoon in Milton, Ont., killing one and injuring the other.

And in Hamilton, police said a man who had been trying to clear downed power lines was found ”in contact with live wires” on a road and died soon after emergency services arrived on Friday evening.

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