Worst ice storm in years coats southern Ontario, cuts power to thousands
Sunday, December 22, 2013, 4:40 PM -
STORM WATCH: Tune into The Weather Network on TV for continued updates on this storm.
About 350,000 customers across southern Ontario were without electricity after a massive weather system coated the landscape in ice, including about 250,000 in the Greater Toronto Area, where it could take up to three days to get everyone reconnected.
In the meantime, Toronto Hydro has asked those who have electricity service to "share the power" and consider inviting neighbours inside.
The City of Toronto has also opened a number of warming stations, which can be found at www.toronto.ca.
"All available resources have been deployed and crews are working as quickly as possible to restore power," said Toronto Hydro in a statement on Sunday.
"Some of the crews I've spoken to said this is as bad [as the 1998 Ice Storm],'' Blair Peberdy, vice-president of Toronto Hydro, told the Canadian Press Sunday. "These storms tend to wreak havoc and we have to go street by street with chainsaws."
Hydro Quebec was reporting 45,000 customers without power as of noon, while Hydro One was reporting more than 120,000 people in the dark.
Even a centimetre of ice coating a heavily-laden tree branch can cause it to snap and fall on either a vehicle or a power line. Weather Network viewers and numerous early-risers on Twitter were reporting power outages, and even witnessing sparking substations.
Freezing rain warnings covered much of the south of the province, including the southwest, Niagara, Hamilton, Greater Toronto Area and Kingston.
The National Capital Region, in the meantime, was initially not in the warned areas, but Environment Canada expanded the freezing rain warning to include Ottawa mid-morning Sunday.