Following Sunday’s ice storm in Toronto, Ontario, Torronto Hydro is reporting wide spread power outages leaving 264,000 Canadians without power. In a tweet from December 22nd at 5:42 p.m., Toronto Hydro, the largest hydro-electric supplier of power in Canda said:
The storm assailed Toronto for more than 24 hours, and is being called “the worst storm to hit Toronto in recent memory.” Freezing rain alternated regularly with freezing drizzle and built up layers of ice on trees and power lines. The oldest of the trees began toppling, crushing cars, damaging homes and ripping power lines from their poles. Sheets of ice fell from the roofs of buildings and flew off of passing vehicles as they drove down the highway.
Airline passengers found themselves stranded in airports ranging from Toronto to as far as St. John’s, N.L., and traffic in Ontario’s capital was virtually halted overnight. “The worst hit parts of Toronto are the neighborhoods near the 401, stretching the city from Etobicoke to Scarborough,” said Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines.
The initial toll of customers left without power following the savage ice-fall was as high as 300,000 early Sunday, said Toronto Hydro . That number, now 264,000, is not the worst of the story for Canadians still without power.
Toronto’s Mayor Rob Ford spoke at a press conference early Sunday afternoon and emphasized that repair crews were working non-stop to restore power as soon as possible, but many customers could expect to remain powerless until as late as Wednesday.
“The top priority now is the hospitals, East General and Sunnybrook hospital are without power,” said Ford, adding that the city needed them to be taken care of foremost. Continuing with public cautions, he advised residents to stay clear of downed power lines as the repair teams had not yet been able to render all damaged lines inert.
“Please,” Mayor Ford continued, “I ask you to check on the elderly. If you have elderly neighbors, if you have neighbors with a disability, please go and make sure they are safe.”
Ford called this storm the worst in the recent history of the city. Amid questions the Mayor empathized with some concerned members of the listening audience. “I know it’s cold, my house is freezing, and I have small children.” He said that his family is without power and that they may have to spend the night in a local hotel.
Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines updated the media on location with repair crews. “As you can see around you we’ve got lines and trees laying everywhere.” Haines said that the worst is yet to come.
“Here’s the things keeping me up right at this moment: we’ve got a wind storm about to hit us,” the Toronto Hydro CEO continued, “obviously these trees are in a very, very fragile state and any movement is going to bring down more power lines.” Simply put, Haines believes more weather is coming and the situation, despite the speed with which power crews are restoring electricity to customers, is only going to get worse.
Describing what happens to transformers when they get coated in more and more ice, Haines said that they expect arcs and catastrophic failures until the weather softens. “Now we’re gonna be replacing poles, replacing transformers at the tops of some of these poles, so it’s gonna be a major event that’s gonna last days.”
Toronto, Ontario has just experienced the worst ice storm in recent memory and Toronto Hydro’s 264,000 customers without power may, before this story is over, just be the beginning.
By Matt Darjany