Toronto Hammered by Ice Storm
TORONTO – Southern Ontario is reeling from the impact of an ice storm. Power is out for up to 250,000 Toronto Hydro customers. While the freezing rain has subsided, Toronto Hydro expects the worst weather is still to come with winds expected to pick up in the morning and into the afternoon. This could result in even more outages across the city.
Weather Warnings Still in Effect
The centre of the storm which originated from Texas is now located over Southwestern Ontario this morning. The storm has brought substantial moisture into Southern Ontario. This combined with slightly colder northerly flow is still producing a major freezing rain storm which will continue today for portions of Southern and Eastern Ontario. Additional freezing rainfall amounts in the order of 10 to 15 mm are possible today. Wind increasing this morning will gust 30 to 50 kilometres per hour may also cause damage to structures and trees due to the weight of ice accumulation.
For areas south of a line from Sarnia to Oxford – Brant, freezing rain is expected to change to rain this morning. For areas from Southern Lake Huron through the Greater Toronto area including Hamilton and Niagara, freezing rain will persist this morning then may change to rain or drizzle early this afternoon.
For areas from Kincardine to Lake Simcoe and Muskoka then east to Kingston, freezing rain could last into this afternoon. For areas from Brockville to Cornwall, freezing rain is expected to continue into early this evening. Significant ice accumulation on trees and power lines is creating widespread power outages and downed trees or tree limbs. More than 250,000 customers are without power in the Greater Toronto area alone. Driving conditions on untreated roads are very hazardous as well. Motorists and pedestrians should exercise caution and adjust travel plans accordingly.
Power Out Into Christmas Day
As a result of the volume of calls that continue to come in, and the current weather conditions, Toronto Hydro is adjusting its estimated time of restoration to 72 hours. While the utility hopes to have everyone restored by Wednesday, it is asking customers to make alternate arrangements, if possible.
Dealing with the Hydro Outage
During an outage:
- Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes.
- Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out.
- Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored.
- When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro.
- Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.
Never Put Yourself in Electricity’s Path
“It is extremely important that people stay well back and do not approach downed powerlines,” said Scott Saint, Chief Public Safety Officer, ESA. “Always assume a downed powerline is live, even if it isn’t sparking – the power could come back on at any time. That leaves no room for mistakes – never put yourself in electricity’s path.”
Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) warn the public that severe and even fatal injuries can occur by touching or even being in close proximity to downed power lines and electrical wires. The flow of electricity through the human body can burn, severely injure or kill.
Extreme weather has brought down powerlines in communities across Southern and Eastern Ontario. The widespread nature of the damage, along with weather conditions that will continue to affect the power system may lead to longer than normal response times for utility crews.
Impact on Travel
Air Canada is advising customers that winter storm conditions in easternCanada are impacting its operations. Customers are advised to check on-line at www.aircanada.com for Travel Advisories and also to confirm that their flight is operating on schedule before going to the airport.
“Air Canada appreciates the importance to our customers of traveling during the holiday. Adverse weather can reduce airport operations and affect an airline’s ability to keep to its schedule, but we are doing our utmost to get customers safely to their destination and we appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding. We have a wealth of travel tips and information available on our website for customers so they can be informed as to how the storm is affecting them and their travel options,” said Klaus Goersch, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating officer.