Canadian Underwriter

Tens of thousands without power in southern Ontario due to windstorm

April 4, 2018   by The Canadian Press

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TORONTO – A powerful windstorm is sweeping through southern Ontario, knocking out power to tens of thousands of people and disrupting travel in the air and on the roads.

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning for the region, saying residents should brace for hazardous road conditions, reduced visibility and possible damage to buildings. The weather agency says high winds are expected to taper off into the evening.

Provincial power utility Hydro One said more than 80,000 of its customers were without power Wednesday afternoon, while Toronto Hydro said about 10,000 of its customers were without power in the city. There were also numerous reports of downed power lines.

Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Tori Gass said the blackouts scattered throughout the city were directly related to the wind, which had been gusting upwards of 90 kilometres per hour. She said extra crews had been on standby and were working to fix the downed lines and repair the outages.

Meanwhile, provincial police say up to 50 vehicles were involved in a major collision on a busy highway north of Toronto.

OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says there were no serious injuries in the crash on Highway 400 in Barrie, Ont., which he said “appears weather-related.”

There were also problems in the air, with national transportation agency NAV Canada slowing the rate of landings at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.

“There are a few delays on account of the weather but planes are still arriving and departing,” said Natalie Moncur, a spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop airport tweeted that “crews are working hard to keep flights moving, but wind and weather may pose greater challenges into the evening.”