It's been a week since a powerful storm hit Sainte-Adèle, Que., but hundreds in the town are still without power as Hydro-Québec crews work around the clock to restore power in the Laurentians.
Last Saturday's storm packed winds between 83 and 144 km/h, uprooting trees, downing hydro poles and leaving hundreds of thousands of Quebecers in the dark.
At its height, roughly 550,000 across the province were without power.
"After two days it was still only one-third of the population who had their power back," said Saint-Adèle Mayor Michèle Lalonde.
Lalonde had initially hoped the power would be back by Friday, but said 15 per cent of those in the town are still without electricity.
"I know there's about 60 houses on my street that haven't had power since Saturday, and we can't do anything about it," said Jean-Louis Daouay, who lives in the town.
Roughly 8,900 customers in the province have been without electricity since last weekend, most of them in the Laurentians, Lanaudière and Outaouais regions, according to Hydro-Québec. It hopes to have much of the power in the regions restored by the end of the week.
It's painstaking work since many of the individual outages touch 10 or fewer customers, the power utility said.
A 'colossal' challenge
"The challenge remains colossal because of the significant damage caused by the severe thunderstorms that moved at 100 kilometres per hour over an area of 300 kilometres," Hydro-Québec said Saturday in a statement.
Over 13,300 customers across the entire province were still without power as of Saturday afternoon, the vast majority in the Laurentians.
More than 2,000 workers are out today working to restore the service, Hydro-Québec said.
"We feel powerless," Lalonde said. "Hydro-Québec isn't giving a lot of communication. I think they don't even know where they're going sometimes."
In the meantime, the town has set up a centre where residents can get water, cook or plug in their phones. They've also opened temporary showers, Lalonde said, and have people on site providing psychological support.
"It will be open until everyone has their power back," she said, adding the cleanup has tested everyone's patience.
Stéphanie Philippe came with her children to the centre on Saturday. Her family has been faring well — they have a generator, a barbecue and a well for running water — but she hasn't been able to steer very far from home since the storm.
"We stay at home because there's no alarm system to protect the house, with the generator and everything in it," she said, as her children played in the park behind the centre.