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300,000 still without power in Toronto due to ice storm

Posted by Derek Flack / December 22, 2013

ice storm toronto300,000 people are still without power in Toronto in the aftermath of a major ice storm that's crippled the the city. Despite the efforts of Hydro workers, continued freezing rain and drizzle throughout the day has brought down additional power lines and trees throughout the city, leaving some additional 50,000 people without service since this morning's estimate that 250,000 were suffering through outages.

Toronto Hydro has yet to update its outages map, but we know that the highway 401 corridor and much of Leaside have been hit particularly hard. Sunnybrook and Toronto East General hospitals also remain without power from the grid, but are running on backup generators. Mayor Ford estimates that it will take 10-12 hours to get power restored at these locations. Meanwhile, many homes without power will have to wait days before service is restored.

The transportation story hasn't improved much either. There's no subway service on the Sheppard Line, as well as at Victoria Park, Islington, Yorkdale, York Mills, and North York Centre stations. The Scarborough RT and all streetcar service also remains suspended with shuttle buses running every 15-30 minutes.

The Toronto District School Board has just announced that all of its facilities will be closed on Monday in the wake of the storm. And if you're currently without power and getting cold, please note that the City has opened a number of warming stations around Toronto.

The Mayor has yet to declare a state of emergency, but with temperatures expected to dip overnight and increasing winds forecast in the coming days, officials are warning that the situation could still worsen.

Check out photos of the storm and its aftermath here.

Do you have your photos of the storm? Tag them on Instagram with #iceTO or add them directly to our Toronto Ice Storm gallery.

Lead photo by Greg Stacey in the blogTO Flickr pool.



Simon / December 22, 2013 at 06:48 pm
We're not actually relying on the mayor for anything in this situation, are we??
Alexander replying to a comment from Simon / December 22, 2013 at 07:06 pm
Honestly, what does the Mayor ever do in situations like these? The best mayor on earth isn't out there cutting tree branches and fixing hydro lines.
TBIT / December 22, 2013 at 07:11 pm
But he is the guy who is supposed to be holding the purse strings. he would be authorizing city overtime, giving permission for more people to be called in, authorizing funds for third-party cleanup contractors and electrical workers to assist, etc. a proper mayor dips into budgets to get messes like this cleaned up and quick. and while I am not sure whether or not he has those powers anymore, I am pretty sure he would just call that gravy and never authorize a cent.
Kelly / December 22, 2013 at 07:23 pm
This is exactly why he had his powers stripped -- because he cannot be trusted to function in an emergency. It's Norm Kelly we need to be speaking about, not Ford.
Bo Zou / December 22, 2013 at 07:43 pm
We have been expecting this weather for some days, yet we still have such a devastating consequence. I think this rings a bell in terms of how we think our huge public fund by tax payers should go. We need to invest more in preventative emergency responses for days like this.
Cranky / December 22, 2013 at 08:39 pm
I believe that declaring emergencies is one of the mator's duties listed in the Provincial charter, so it could not be stripped from him. Steve Paiken just tweeted wondering if the reason Ford hasn't called it is that as soon as he does, the consequent powers fall to Kelly. Spiteful old fart.
Yahil / December 22, 2013 at 08:57 pm

The numbers you cite are "customers" (not people). With couples, families, and large buildings, the number of people without power is probably closer to a million.
Derek replying to a comment from Yahil / December 22, 2013 at 09:50 pm
An important distinction. Thanks for pointing that out.
Warren replying to a comment from Bo Zou / December 22, 2013 at 10:10 pm
They were actually very well-prepared for this storm, Bo Zou, but there's just not enough people in this province to keep up with -literally- thousands of downed trees. One of the people at Hyrdo One was saying on the radio just a few minutes ago that every time they get power back up somewhere, it goes down somewhere.

No amount of prep -- that's NONE -- can prevent that many problems.

Crews from all over the province are already working 24/7, and even more crews are showing up tomorrow. And don't forget that it's Christmas season.... surely a lot of people are away from home or are having difficulty getting back to work because of the poor road conditions.
E. Toby Coke replying to a comment from Bo Zou / December 22, 2013 at 10:20 pm
Bo Zou wrote: "We need to invest more in preventative emergency responses for days like this."

Preventative emergency response? What the blazes does THAT mean? Maybe a time machine that lets you respond to an emergency by going back in time and preventing it?

And how do you prevent an ice storm? I guess you invent a weather machine! I'm on board with you, 'cause that's way cool.

What kind of vapourizer are you using?
Me replying to a comment from Bo Zou / December 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm
Or you could just buy some blankets and stop blaming other people for the fact you are incapable of taking care of yourself without being dependent on the government.
John Labatt / December 22, 2013 at 11:00 pm
Why are they making such a big deal about this ice storm my power is on so what is the big deal.
Arshi / December 22, 2013 at 11:41 pm
Look the mayor does have the responsibility to do these things and if any of you out there are old enough to remember ice storm 98 yeah people laughed at Mayor Lastman when he called in the army but he did get things cleaned up did he not so people stop saying the mayor doesn't have the responsibility he does but no one out there seems to care.
Mr.A replying to a comment from Cranky / December 23, 2013 at 12:41 am
"Steve Paiken just tweeted wondering if the reason Ford hasn't called it is that as soon as he does, the consequent powers fall to Kelly."

My thoughts exactly. Ford is too busy doing photo ops at Sunnybrook, and is (again) putting his ego ahead of the interests of the city. Heaven forbid he do the right thing and let the spotlight fall onto someone else.
picard102 / December 23, 2013 at 12:58 am
This isn't an emergency.
Ms.Mary / December 23, 2013 at 01:04 am
Sure that's what he's doing at Sunnybrook Photo ops cause not like he has the opportunity to be before the camera's any other day. Not like it would be possible he just doing what any other concerned Mayor would do check up on the most vulnerable . When I used to live up north we would get major winter storms and not uncommon to go days without power not pleasant but they wouldn't be declaring a state of emergency. Was able to drive around today stores were open and last I heard some community centres had 2 people and the most one had was 40. At this point not seeing state of emergency just need patience takes time to restore power and clean up. Was after all a big ice storm.
Holy / December 23, 2013 at 02:03 am
It's more like mayor fail to do any Job let all this outage or all those incident happen. Remember when other mayor was on board with extreme weather condition we always had power. Good days ..
mustBnice / December 23, 2013 at 02:04 am
This is not an emergency yet.. but this is a big deal.. Some have been without power or hot water since last night.. including myself with a 3 yr old.. over 24 hours later still no power..
Aaron / December 23, 2013 at 02:12 am
@Yahil: You are correct. 'Customers' are the billing per home. With couples and families, it adds up to 1/3rd the population of Toronto. Hydro and the media are VERY careful not to say that. Wonder why? Not to panic anyone????
Opulence / December 23, 2013 at 02:13 am
It's a long night outside your home with your pets
No heat means a lot of ppes can burst in the next few days
I feel no trust that our mayor can get the best for us done
Not unless he has some awesome epiphany and function
Please whoever can step in do so now
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Bo Zou / December 23, 2013 at 02:33 am
@Bo Zou: The ONLY thing that we can do is devote millions of dollars to burying power and communications lines underground so the they don't become affected by ice storms, AND THAT'S IT. Other than that, nothing else could have been done in this situation.

@Me; Where the frack do you get off insulting somebody for being disabled and needing government aid? What would YOU do if YOU were disabled and needed help?
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gucco the clown / December 23, 2013 at 08:31 am
And one of them is Rob Ford! Tee hee! You know, since Council took his powers away? Headline refers to Torontonians without power? Oh well, I am a lousy clown...just like Rob Ford!;-)
Me replying to a comment from picard102 / December 23, 2013 at 09:35 am
We Canadians as a people are such whiney babies over winter. Boohoo, it's cold. Boohoo there's snow. Boohoo, there's ice. Remember those commercials a year or so ago showing us as so "CANADIAN" braving the winter and laughing it off supposedly? Those make me laugh as most Canadians I know are crybabies over winter and can barely function if there's as much as a flurry. hell, most Canadians can barely leave their driveway in their car without crashing into something yet it happens EVERY YEAR!! And how do they react? "How'd this happen? Where'd this come from?" Same place it did last year Dumbasses, and the year before and the year before that and on and on and on.......

And guess what Lefties, you can ban or legislate winter away no matter how hard you try. Ain't Mother Nature a Bitch? HAHAHAHAHAAA!!!!!!!!!! She actually forces you people to live in the REAL world.
Me replying to a comment from picard102 / December 23, 2013 at 09:36 am
Can't ban winter. I missed the 't....oops.
iSkyscraper / December 23, 2013 at 09:39 am
Very sorry to hear about this storm in Toronto. Reminds me of when people were scurrying around New York hosting friends and lining up for gas at the few functioning gas stations due to long-term power outages from Hurricane Sandy. Hope everyone is ok.

Long-term, this kind of storm is pretty tough to deal with. Yes, as a city Toronto has under-invested in underground electric distribution (far too many hydro lines are still on poles above ground) but that's not an easy thing to address and it will take time to rewire the city. And I don't want to hear any trolls whining about streetcars/LRT vs subways in an ice storm, since subways have their own weather issues (chiefly flooding) and these sorts of events are not statistically significant. Everything sucks in an ice storm.

Please stay warm, and if you have to leave your house, make sure to turn off your water and open a basement sink to drain most of your water lines. That's a good comment above and will be a concern if house water lines freeze.
Me replying to a comment from Simon Tarses / December 23, 2013 at 09:41 am
I wasn't referring to being disabled dumbass. I was referring to people in general as they are ALL so helpless in the real world because they've lost the capability of taking responsibility for their own lives and survival. I see no reference to Bo Zou being disables but I do see him/her being a whiney crybaby expecting Big brother to hold his/her hand. It's sad really that the typical Canadian's reaction to a bit of winter is to curl up into a ball and cry about it and wait for someone else to take care of it for them.
junctionist / December 23, 2013 at 09:58 am
We need to bury more of the overhead power lines in the city. Storms that aren't even that serious like this one are resulting in hundreds of thousands of people without power. It looked worse than it was because all the brittle branches of old trees that fell and because overhead wires got damaged easily, leading to widespread outages. There are far worse winter storms that could hit the region, and when that happens, people can't be waiting 3 days in the cold for the power to come back on.
Mary / December 23, 2013 at 10:28 am
I haven't seen any hydro trucks all weekend. Saw one today for the first time and he was having breakfast in his truck...Are they really working as hard as the media want us to believe?
iSkyhigh replying to a comment from junctionist / December 23, 2013 at 10:36 am
Why not?
Gravy replying to a comment from junctionist / December 23, 2013 at 12:39 pm
You want to bury power lines? At 10-15 times the price, not to mention the construction underneath city streets and sidewalks, you think Ford Nation would like to pay more for hydro?
Matt replying to a comment from Gravy / December 23, 2013 at 01:27 pm
Does that statement mean that you DO want to pay more for Hydro? I'm sure if you ask them, they can arrange it.
kaps / December 24, 2013 at 07:23 am
I use to be a Ford supporter, however his absolute inability to provide leadership in a time of crisis is unbelievable. What an incompetent human being. My family, there is 6 adults and 2 children have been without power since Saturday.. There are thousands of us that are freezing and bordering on smoke inhalation issues from our fireplaces..Ford should have called an emergency especially when over a million ppl are affected. One thing is for sure- at least this incompetent politician wont be back as he thinks he will (there are at least a million less supporters!)
Moneesha replying to a comment from kaps / December 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm
So it's his fault you didn't maintain your fireplace? He has no power, it was taken away, remember?
gucco the clown / December 24, 2013 at 01:19 pm
No, Moneesha, it's fault for acting like a criminal.
gucco the clown / December 24, 2013 at 01:20 pm
Vito Rizzutto=Rob Ford
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