The ice storm of 2013 was a nightmare before, during & after Christmas

The 2013 ice storm was when trees were more ice than tree.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


The Dec. 19, 2013 ice storm was a "remember where you were" event.

The storm was a result of a low-pressure system that formed over Texas and made its way to Ontario. The warm front from Texas mixed with the cold air mass in Eastern Canada.

The storm officially began on Dec. 19 and dissipated by Dec. 23, but there were prolonged impacts. The storm reached Ontario, Quebec, Atlantic Canada, Maine, New England, New York, Michigan and Arkansas.

The affected areas were faced with varying conditions, including extreme snow, an ice storm, and a tornado outbreak.

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The ice was so aggressive that trees were more ice than they were tree.

Ice branch

(George Kourounis)

Because of the weight of the ice, trees started to droop onto vehicles, roads, and anything beneath them. The ice also caused branches of all sizes to break.

Ice storm

(George Kourounis)

The ice and snow also took out power lines, leaving over a million residents without power. The storm killed 27 people and cost $200 million.

Ice storm - car

(The Weather Network)

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Toronto, Ont., was one of the hardest-hit cities. Two waves of ice hit the city, one on Dec. 20 and another on Dec. 22. Even by Dec. 24, 69,800 homes were still without power.

The city set up warming centres to support those who were affected by the storm. Around 1,000 people spent Christmas Eve in these centres.

people cleaning up ice storm

(The Weather Network)

This weather event had similar conditions and affected similar areas as the storm in January of 1998. Those who were around for both storms have the fun opportunity to play a round of "compare and contrast extreme winter storms."

To hear more about the impacts of this storm, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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Thumbnail courtesy: George Kourounis