Thou­sands blacked out by ice and rain storm

Schools and roads closed, hun­dreds of flights de­layed

The Peterborough Examiner - - Canada & World - The Cana­dian Press

More than 100,000 cus­tomers across south­ern and cen­tral On­tario re­mained with­out power Mon­day morn­ing as the prov­ince’s mas­sive ice storm tran­si­tioned to drench­ing rain.

Pro­vin­cial power util­ity Hy­dro One said its crews were work­ing to re­con­nect more than 97,000 cus­tomers, while Toronto Hy­dro said the num­ber of cus­tomers in the dark had shrunk to 10,000 from about 40,000.

In most cases the crews were deal­ing with power lines and poles downed by high winds or ice-coated trees that snapped dur­ing the storm.

The mix of snow, freez­ing rain, ice pel­lets, rain and pow­er­ful winds that bat­tered the re­gion Satur­day and Sun­day made driv­ing treach­er­ous, with pro­vin­cial po­lice re­port­ing more than 1,450 non-fa­tal crashes on the high­ways sur­round­ing Toronto over the two days.

Pro­vin­cial po­lice also said High­way 400, south of Bar­rie, re­mained closed in both di­rec­tions af­ter a col­li­sion in­volv­ing two trucks took out the high­way di­vider.

The poor con­di­tions also prompted bus and school can­cel­la­tions in parts of the prov­ince Mon­day, with schools in Hamil­ton, Water­loo Re­gion, Hal­ton and Peel re­gions closed for the day and buses can­celled in var­i­ous other dis­tricts.

In Toronto, the CN Tower was closed due to the weather and po­lice said a nearby pedes­trian bridge was shut down due to chunks of ice fall­ing from the tower.

Af­ter pum­melling On­tario over the week­end, the storm slowly moved east to­ward Que­bec.

By Mon­day, icy roads were cre­at­ing slip­pery con­di­tions in dif­fer­ent parts of that prov­ince, with schools in the greater Mon­treal area and fur­ther afield closed due to the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of freez­ing rain.

Hy­dro-Que­bec re­ported early Mon­day that more than 33,000 of its clients were with­out elec­tric­ity, the ma­jor­ity in the hard-hit Ou­taouais re­gion in west­ern Que­bec and the Mon­teregie re­gion south­east of Mon­treal.

The storm also played havoc with air traf­fic, with more than 600 flights can­celled at Toronto’s Pear­son In­ter­na­tional Air­port over the week­end and many oth­ers de­layed — of­ten for hours. Toronto’s down­town Billy Bishop air­port can­celled all de­part­ing flights on Sun­day and re­ceived only one ar­rival all day.

Air trav­ellers were ad­vised to check the sta­tus of their flights be­fore head­ing out on Mon­day, with Pear­son say­ing it ex­pected to see higher than nor­mal pas­sen­ger vol­umes as those whose flights were can­celled be­gan trav­el­ling out of Toronto.

Some uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges can­celled ex­ams due to the weather, and with heavy rain con­tin­u­ing overnight there were con­cerns about pos­si­ble lo­cal­ized flood­ing.

Res­i­dents were be­ing urged to try to help mit­i­gate the prob­lem by clear­ing catch basins of snow and ice.

JUSTIN TANG THE CANA­DIAN PRESS

A man passes ice laden trees as a storm brings freez­ing rain in Ot­tawa on Mon­day. Hy­dro One said its crews were work­ing Mon­day to re­con­nect more than 97,000 cus­tomers.

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