More than 150,000 people in Ontario are left without power after a powerful tornado ripped through the province on Tuesday, forcing many schools to close and leaving behind significant damage.
The Town of Uxbridge, east of Toronto, has declared a local emergency due to storm damage, with some buildings reduced to rubble and roads blocked by uprooted trees, power lines and broken telephone poles.
“It’s been really non-stop,” said Uxbridge, Ont. Mayor Dave Barton. “We have hydro crews on the ground 24 hours a day to reconnect us. We have just about half the city connected with electricity.
“We had major communication problems… when you lose power, you lose cells, you lose data.”
At least 10 people died in Ontario as a result of Saturday’s storm, which generated winds of up to 132 km/h.
While Environment Canada sent out an alert warning people of the storm, the fast-moving system caught many off-guard.
Electric wires and power poles were torn down, shingles torn from roofs, cars toppled from rubble and piles of wood and branches everywhere. #Uxbridge pic.twitter.com/YQBpgCEEms
As of Tuesday morning, workers have restored power to about 480,000 people. However, a spokesman for Hydro One, Ontario’s largest service provider for electricity, said some 150,000 remain without electricity.
In Uxbridge, about 27,000 people still have no electricity, as well as 31,000 in Peterborough and 9,000 in Newmarket.
“There’s still a lot of work to do in that area to get electricity back to everyone,” said Hydro One’s Tiziana Baccega Rosa.
“We continue to tell customers: It may still be a few more days before you have the power, depending on where you are located and the severity of the damage affecting you.”
Baccega Rosa said the “severe and devastating” damage seen in the province is concentrated in pockets of central and eastern Ontario. It remains a challenge for the workers to clear the debris before power is restored.
Meanwhile, according to Hydro One, with 1,400 broken poles seen till Tuesday morning, the number of broken hydro poles has increased significantly, from over 800 the previous day.
Toronto Hydro said crews were dealing with 110,000 outages at peak-level on Saturday and have since restored power to more than 98 percent of customers. As of Tuesday, about 1,700 Torontonians remain without electricity.
“We are responding to a large number of localized outages [and] There has been a lot of damage due to fallen trees,” the utility provider said in a tweet.
The personnel worked overnight & have now restored power to more than 98% of our customers. We are responding to a large number of localized blockages & substantial damage caused by falling trees.
Schools forced to close in Durham area, Toronto
A power outage forced several schools in the Durham area and Toronto to close students and staff on Tuesday.
Durham District School Board (DDSB) says seven schools will not open: Uxbridge Secondary School, Uxbridge Public School, Joseph Gold Public School in Uxbridge, Goodwood Public School in Uxbridge, Lincoln Avenue Public School in Ajax, EA Fairman Public School in Whitby , and Valley View Public School in Pickering.
The school board said there would be no virtual education for students in those schools because many students could still be without electricity.
In a statement issued on Monday, the board said, “The decision to close these schools has been taken to protect the health and safety of students, parents/guardians and staff as electricity is required to operate the school safely.” is.”
The school board says it expects all schools to open on Wednesday.
“The school guardians and DDSB service providers will clear the fallen trees, broken branches and debris in the school grounds. There may be some modifications in the recess and lunch timings depending on the impact,” the DDSB said.
The Toronto District School Board said AY Jackson Secondary School was also closed Tuesday due to a power outage. Students will be expected to participate in asynchronous learning for the day.
Our crews and utility partners continue to get lights back on for 196,000 customers without electricity. It has been a difficult few days with extensive damage and disruptions, and we are doing everything possible to rebuild the grid as safely and efficiently as possible #onstorm pic.twitter.com/wJmJsbCbY6