More than 120,000 Quebecers found themselves without power on Sunday after snow and strong winds buffeted parts of the province.

Environment Canada issued snowfall warnings for scores of communities over the weekend, with some expected to receive up to 45 centimetres of snow through Monday.

By Sunday afternoon, Quebec City and the Charlevoix region received as much as 35 centimetres of the snow, which could be "heavy and wet and at times mixed with rain," threatening to bring down branches and trees, the department said.

Hydro-Québec said some 121,000 households were without power as of mid-morning, with Mauricie the most affected region followed by the area around the provincial capital. By the evening, the number of customers across the province without power had dropped to 10,791.

"The weather is causing damage to the vegetation. So branches are weakened by the heavy snow and they will break and fall and come into contact with the lines, and that's causing outages right now," said spokeswoman Gabrielle Leblanc in a midday phone interview.

Freezing rain was also expected later Sunday or Monday, she said.

Leblanc said 199 crews from Hydro-Québec were in the field to gauge the damage.

"Our teams are still trying to assess what kind of work needs to be carried out in order to restore power," she said.

Further east, parts of the Gaspé Peninsula could see as much as 40 centimetres of snow before it turns to rain over New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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Fredericton, Saint John, N.B., and Halifax were slated to get between 25 and 50 millimetres of rain by Monday afternoon, as well as winds of up to 80 km/h in Nova Scotia's capital, according to Environment Canada's forecast.

Flooding in low-lying areas of those cities is possible, it said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 10, 2024.

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