Canada ice storm leaves about 500,000 homes without power
Repair crews were working around the clock to restore electricity to about 500,000 households in Ontario and Quebec after an ice storm snapped branches, brought down power lines and crimped travel in Canada’s two most populous provinces.
In Toronto, Canada’s biggest city, about 244,000 Toronto Hydro customers were without power as of 3:15 a.m. yesterday, the utility said in a message on Twitter. All streetcar service in the city – on what would have been one of the year’s busiest shopping days – was suspended Sunday due to icy power lines, the Toronto Transit Commission said. Streetcar service was expected to be restored this morning, while the Sheppard and Scarborough RT subway lines remain closed, the commission said.
“This is truly one of the worst ice storms we’ve seen here in Ontario,” Toronto Hydro Chief Executive Officer Anthony Haines said Sunday at a news briefing. While all available employees have been deployed, service may not be restored in full before today, Christmas Eve, the utility said.
More than 400 flights were canceled Sunday at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, according to the airport’s website, with dozens more scrapped in Ottawa and Montreal. The storm left up to 1.2 inches of ice in the Toronto area, Environment Canada said.
Toronto’s East General and Sunnybrook hospitals were operating on emergency generators, as is the city’s water-pumping system, Haines said.
“The top priority now is the hospitals,” Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said at a news conference at city hall.
Provincial officials were working with affected municipalities to ensure a coordinated response.