#OntarioWindStorm, #Quebecwindstorm, #TorontoHydro, #EnvironmentCanada
Ottawa, May 5 (Canadian-Media): Hundreds of thousands in Ontario and Quebec still without power after storm brought down trees, scattered debris across central Canada, media reports said.
The storm started in southwestern Ontario in the afternoon, and swept into eastern Ontario late in the evening before heading into Quebec.
More than 75,000 households and businesses in Quebec, are also without power due to damage from 100 km/h winds.
About 68,000 customers were without power at the peak of the storm.
About 13,000 customers in Toronto are reportedly affected and more than 350 hydro poles in Ontario were reportedly broken in the storm.
Tori Gass, spokesperson for Toronto Hydro, said the utility considers itself to be in an "emergency state" because damage from the windstorm has been "severe." Etobicoke was the hardest hit area in Toronto, she said.
"The storm came in fast and furious yesterday," she said.
"There are poles that have been brought down and wires that have been brought down. There are some instances where there are risks and dangerous situations. This is a very serious and a significant event for our power system."
"Unfortunately, it's scattered quite widely throughout the city. There seems to be not one area that wasn't touched by the damaging storm that happened yesterday."
More damage to hydro infrastructure in Toronto was caused by this windstorm, said Gass than did the ice storm in mid-April, when 44,000 customers lost power during the peak of the storm.
"This storm, while it was short-lived, was more much damaging than even that ice and wind storm that we had."
Wind storm. Image credit: Unsplash
She could not say when power will be restored to people experiencing outages and said the wait could be lengthy in some cases.
Crews were reportedly responding to more than 400 reports of downed wires in Toronto on Saturday.
Out of public safety concerns, fallen wires are first being repaired.
Toronto Hydro is urging residents to stay at least 10 metres away from any downed wires and to use caution when walking or driving in the city and not to duck under yellow tape.
Nancy Clark, communications officer for Hydro One, said crews have already restored power to about 160,000 customers.
Toronto Mayor John Tory says the winds were nearly hurricane force and he thanked police, fire and hydro crews for their efforts.
"It was one of the worst windstorms in many, many years, in fact, maybe all the way back as far as Hurricane Hazel in terms of the strength of those winds," he said.
Many passengers at Toronto's Pearson International Airport were rescheduled because of a brief ground stop on Friday night that suspended flight operations. .
A "dynamic" low pressure system from the southern U.S., said Environment Canada, that brought high winds and thunderstorms to southern Ontario.
"It gave us one of the largest, widespread windstorms that we've had in many years across Southern Ontario," Arnold Ashton, meteorologist for Environment Canada, said Saturday. "It moved at very good clip."
Wind gusts of 126 km/hr were recorded in Hamilton, 122 km/hr at Waterloo, Ont., airport and 119 km/hr at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)