(Reuters) - Canadian power-line workers are being sent to Vermont to help the U.S. state cope with Hurricane Sandy as Canada also braces for the storm that is expected to bring high winds and heavy rain to a wide area and big waves to the Great Lakes.
Hundreds of flights between Canada and the eastern United States were canceled on Monday as the massive storm moved up the U.S. East Coast towards Ontario, Quebec and the Canadian Atlantic provinces.
Quebec-Hydro, a government-run power utility, said it was sending the teams, or some 50 workers, to Vermont in response to a request from local U.S. authorities.
"They are mostly line workers going to lend a hand in Vermont to re-establish electricity as soon as possible," said Hydro-Quebec spokesman Yvan Cliche.
In July, dozens of workers from Canada helped restore power after a massive storm swept through the Washington area, where utilities struggled to restore power to hundreds of homes and businesses.
Hydro One, Ontario's power utility, has not received any requests for help from the United States and would balance any requests with its own needs at home, according to a utility spokeswoman.
Canadian officials were warning of heavy rainfall of more than two inches (50 mm) and winds in excess of 62 mph from the storm that is expected to stretch from southern Ontario to the Atlantic coast, beginning as early as Wednesday morning.
"We are expecting some very high winds," Toronto Mayor Rob Ford told a news conference. "And some heavy, heavy rainfall."
The high winds could create waves as high as 23 feet in Lake Huron and as high as 15 feet in Lake Ontario, officials of Environment Canada said. (Reporting By Russ Blinch and Rita Devlin Marier; Editing by David Brunnstrom)