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The death toll from powerful thunderstorms in Canada’s two most populous provinces has risen to at least eight, authorities said on Sunday, as emergency crews continued a massive cleanup to restore power for a half-hour. million people.

The storms, which lasted more than two hours on Saturday afternoon and have the power of a tornado, left a trail of destruction in parts of Ontario and Quebec. Wind gusts as strong as 132 km/h (82 mph) downed trees, uprooted utility poles and toppled numerous metal transmission towers, utility companies said.

Power companies were scrambling on Sunday to restore transmission lines. Most storm deaths occurred when people were hit by falling trees, authorities said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government is ready to help those in need.

“We are thinking of everyone involved and thank the teams working to restore power,” Trudeau tweeted on Sunday.

Hydro One, Ontario’s largest electric utility, said in a tweet on Sunday that crews were responding to significant damage. Environment Canada had issued mobile alerts warning of severe thunderstorms.

Hydro One crews have restored power to more than 360,000 customers, with more than 226,000 customers still without power, the company said in a statement on Sunday evening.

Restoration efforts are expected to continue for several days before power is restored to all customers, the company said.



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