Environment Canada warned Quebecers on Thursday to prepare emergency kits that can help sustain them for up to 72 hours without power, as a major winter storm approached the province.

Many regions of Quebec were expected to receive a mix of heavy snow, rain and strong winds starting Thursday night, the agency said.

Meteorologist Jean-Philippe Bégin said Quebecers should prepare for the possibility of blackouts "for prolonged periods."

"Is it 10 per cent of the population? Is it more? Ultimately, everyone must be prepared for this possibility because Quebec will be hit with high winds everywhere," he said in an interview. "So, if we have outages, it could take longer to restore power."

Bégin said winds between 80 kilometres per hour and 120 km/h are forecast for most regions, adding that the strongest winds are expected east of Quebec City.

Environment Canada said that aside from preparing emergency kits, Quebecers should charge batteries for electronic equipment and test generators.

Regions north of the St. Lawrence River, such as the Laurentians, Lanaudière and Mauricie, are expected to receive up to 40 centimetres of snow.

In Montreal and other parts of southern Quebec, warming weather will bring rain on Friday and freezing rain later that evening when the temperature drops.

@environmentca warning #Quebecers about possible #blackouts due to #WinterStorm. #ExtremeCold #Quebec

Meanwhile, over in southern British Columbia, warmer weather is set to arrive by Christmas Eve. Most of the province is under an extreme cold warning or winter storm watch as bitterly cold temperatures and dangerous wind chill values of -40 C hit some regions.

In Toronto, rain starting Thursday night will shift to flurries as a cold front moves in, said Peter Kimbell, an Ontario-based warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada. The front will rapidly push the mercury below freezing and bring strong southwesterly winds.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 22, 2022.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

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