Crews work to restore lost ‘lifeline’ after weekend ice storm
Some of the more than 20,000 Southwestern Ontario customers left in the dark Monday by freezing rain that hammered the London region will have to wait until Tuesday evening for electricity to be restored.
Most of London was spared from power interruptions during the weekend ice storm, but some communities in the region lost multiple utility poles along single lines.
And while Hydro One responded with more than 1,400 people across the province, efforts at restoration were slowed by the continuing bad weather, which grounded helicopters that would otherwise fly in replacement poles.
“Multiple poles are down (in some Southwestern Ontario communities),” Hydro One spokesperson Nancy Clark said.
Hydro One expected to restore power Monday to most of its customers, including many of the 15,000 customers in Huron County who lost power, but some customers at the end of smaller lines faced outages expected to last until about 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Hydro One expected and planned for the combination of ice, snow and wind that snapped tree limbs and utility poles alike, Clark said, arranging for extra crews and lining up other utilities to help. Other areas hit hard by power outages in the London region included Aylmer, Beachville and Strathroy. Repair worked was also slowed because Ontario Hydro had to prepare to help eastern Ontario communities that were expected to be hit by the wintery storm later in the day Monday, Clark said. “Crews have been working around the clock to restore power to our customers. We know that electricity is a lifeline for many families in the winter, especially for those who depend on electric heat. It’s all hands on deck until every last customer has their power back,” Greg Kiraly, the utility’s chief operating officer, said Sunday. Among those losing power were two dozen Thames Valley District public and London District Catholic schools, officials there report.
Bus services were also cancelled to many schools in the region around London.
The same storm also played havoc on area waterways, including shoreline areas along Lake Erie in Chatham-Kent and Essex County.
“If you look at this system coming up from the south, it’s like a water machine coming up,” said Teresa Hollingsworth, corporate services manager for the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority.
Southwestern Ontario has been pounded with a half a month’s rainfall in just three days, Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said Sunday.
Snow and showers are expected Wednesday and Thursday, while a high of 7 C is forecast for Friday, ushering in a weekend of sun and higher temperatures.
Hydro One customers looking for information on power outages can call 1-800-434-1235, download the free Hydro One power outage app or visit www.HydroOne.com/ stormcenter. Customers can also register to receive personal text or email alerts about power outages at HydroOne.com/MyAccount.
Two days of freezing rain and ice pellets knocked down trees in Stratford and area, including this pine tree on Perth Line 35.
A London fire department inflatable boat powers up the Thames River Monday beneath the Oxford Street bridge. Three water rescue units took to the high water of the Thames to practise their skills. Stations 2, 3 and 6 brought their various rescue vessels to Harris Park before heading upstream to practise near the bridge.