A massive weather system from the U.S. has hit Central Canada and the Maritimes with an ice storm on one of the busiest travelling weekends of the year. Here's what you need to know:
1. Ice Accumulation
A confluence of factors has led to one of the worst ice storms in recent years in south central Canada. The worst-hit areas are around the shores of Lake Ontario where ice accumulation on surfaces has reached 2 to 3 centimetres in some locations – easily enough to topple trees and other vulnerable structures (but still less than half of what was recorded in parts of Eastern Ontario after the far more devastating ice storm of January, 1998).
2. Outage numbers
An estimated 250,000 customers in the Greater Toronto Area are without power and the number could grow Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines told the Globe and Mail, because of trees falling on power lines through the day. “The damage continues as we speak,” he said this afternoon, adding that in some neighbourhoods “where the power was on an hour ago it’s not on now.”
3. Projected time to restore service
It could take 72 hours before some customers have their power back meaning thousands could be waking up to a blacked out Christmas. High priority is being given to hospital and public services such as water treatment. Next, feeder lines that service the largest numbers of customers will be repaired. Last on the priority list are individual residential homes or small pockets cut off by downed power lines or shorted out equipment.
4. Transit down
The TTC is telling riders to expect delays/diversions across all surface routes due to adverse road conditions. There is no subway service on the Sheppard Line and from Woodbine Station to Warden Station on the Bloor-Danforth Line. There is also no service on the Scarborough RT or at North York Centre Station. GO Transit is running on an adjusted schedule.
5. Flights disrupted
Dozens of flights have been delayed, cancelled, with Toronto’s Pearson International the most affected airport in Canada. The airport strongly advises passengers to check flight status with their airline and allow extra time for getting to the airport safety.
6. Hospitals and water treatment
Two major city hospitals, Sunnybrook and Toronto East General are operating on back up generators and remain the highest priority for hydro workers. Three pumps at the F.J. Horgan Water Treatment Plant in the city’s east end are also operating on generators.