Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Travellers stranded in Toronto due to Ice Storm

Toronto weather creates havoc in Toronto as ice storm leaves 400,000 in the dark across Ontario


The purpose of this post is to advise friends and relatives of travellers who are in Canada for a visit and scheduled to leave the country during the holiday season. Ice storm that hits Toronto and other cities on Saturday stranded most travellers.  Here is part of the news that was published early Monday morning. Read on....latest news at the end of the article.
A “rare and vigorous” winter storm that coated Eastern Canada in a thick layer of ice over the weekend saw major power outages in Toronto, paralyzing much of the city’s transit system and stranding holiday travellers.
The steady dose of freezing rain Saturday night turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.
Stranded Travellers at Pearson International Airport in Toronto
Photo Credit : James Martin/National Post
At the peak of the storm’s impact Sunday, hundreds of thousands of households were without power — approximately 300,000 in Toronto alone. By late Sunday night, Toronto Hydro was still working to restore power to 254,000 customers. Southern Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes saw as much as 30 mm of ice blanket roads and trees, sending broken branches into power lines.
“It truly is a catastrophic ice storm that we have had here, probably one of the worst we’ve ever had,” Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said Sunday. The worst hit parts of Toronto are the neighbourhoods near the 401, stretching the city from Etobicoke to Scarbourough.

In a press conference Sunday, Mayor Ford also said the storm was among the worst in Toronto history, but stopped short of calling for a state of emergency.
“If it gets really bad in the next 24 hours, we could have a state of emergency,” he said at a news conference. Mayor Ford also urged residents to keep children and pets inside and to check on elderly and vulnerable neighbours.
Ice Storm in Toronto
Photo Credit : Peter J Thompson/National Post
“My house is freezing cold, I have little kids, we might have to go to a hotel tonight, I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do,” Mr. Ford said.
“It’s not good to wake up and have a freezing cold shower.”
Hydro One, which serves much of rural Ontario, was reporting more than 130,000 customers were affected as of late Sunday night. Overall, power outages affected about 400,000 customers in Ontario, as ice-coated tree branches snapped and brought down power lines.
“Thoughts are with those without power due to the ice storm,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted. “Please stay safe.”
The weather conditions were suspected to have played a role in four fatal highway crashes in Quebec and another in Ontario on the weekend.
“Driving conditions are hazardous. This is made worse by the fact that many traffic lights aren’t working. Please do not drive unless it is absolutely necessary,” Toronto police said in a statement.
Stranded Travellers/Passengers at Pearson International Airport in Toronto
Photo Credit : Peter J Thompson/National Post
In a statement released late Sunday, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne reported reaching out to mayors of affected cities across the province, from Kitchener to Kingston, where residents were photographed skating down residential streets.
”We’re going to bring in the resources that are needed to deal with the situation,” she told a news conference.
But the premier did not report speaking with Mayor Rob Ford —  even though Toronto was one of the hardest hit areas, where felled trees and ice-caused mass blackouts that were expected to last as long as 72 hours, or until Christmas Day.
Ms. Wynne instead spoke with deputy mayor Norm Kelly, who would take control of operations should the city declare a state of emergency — a product of last month’s controversial city council move to strip the embattled Mayor Ford of much of his powers.
Toronto Skyline during the Ice Storm
Photo Credit: Peter J Thompson/National Post
Pearson Airport alone saw around 107,000 travellers on Sunday, among the highest passenger traffic of the year — second only to 115,000 passengers on Friday. Amid the chaos, the airport saw dozens of flights cancelled with many others delayed.
Airport spokesperson Shereen Daghstani said delayed arrivals had caused a backlog of planes in need of de-icing, which contributed to the rash of longer wait times for passengers.
“Safety is at the top of our objectives,” she said.
Please read the rest of the news here.
Source: Updated news by Canadian Press December 23, 2013
Latest News: Toronto Star - Some could be no power until the weekend in Toronto
Latest News: Toronto Sun - 90,000 without power in Toronto after the Ice Storm

From the desk of: 
Freddie Miranda
A blogger and a Canada-based freelance writer. He shares the value of his travel experiences and discoveries with his friends and fellow travellers. Share your passion, join and visit him. Send him a message if you will @ fromatravellersdesk(at)gmail.(dot)com.