The Real Dark Christmas 2013
We didn’t get the chance to really celebrate Christmas due to the major ice storm of 2013 that hit our city and left hundreds of thousands Toronto residents in the dark. Power outages was like a domino-effect. One, two, three, and everything started falling down. Twigs, tree branches laden with heavy ice coating started to break, at times bringing the entire tree with it and fallen trees, downed lines also coated with thick ice caused a lot of power outages.
Perhaps we will celebrate Christmas in 2014 or better yet we have scheduled our delayed Christmas 2013 dinner with our New Year’s Eve dinner and this time with a Roasted Turkey and all its trimming. Also with Rémy Martin V.S.O.P. Fine Champagne popped for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, better a late Christmas party than none at all. Hopefully we will have a Happy New Year’s Eve dinner party and no power outage in sight in three days time to ring in the New Year 2014.
Ice Storm Warning and the Major Disaster Path
From Southern Ontario to Atlantic Canada and all the places that were along the path were hit hard by the powerful ice storm and that caused more power outages. Our expected Christmas Eve dinner party was postponed due to power outage since we can’t cook the frozen, I mean defrosted turkey and we didn’t know when the electricity will be restored in our condo/apt. building. Even if one of the three elevators is working and the water system is still available (not the hot water though), the building was on generator power consumption reserved for a week, just a requirement for all public and private properties that a diesel fueled generator have to take over the necessary equipment like safety lights and elevators in private properties but public ones are required by law to provide all those mentioned plus kitchen facilities in hospitals and LTCF (Long Term Care Facilities) also known as nursing homes. All hospitals were the first to get their power restored and then the nursing homes, after that the homes and the apartment buildings, grid by grid and block by block were painstakingly restored with their own electricity.
The cities and towns provided warming buses and bus ambulances plus the regular ambulances were there to take care of the injured and the elderly people who needs to be evacuated to ER or to warming centers. So many warming centers were made available due to the winter cold weather and everyone lost their heating in homes and apartments. The charitable organizations provided hot meals and food to the people at the warming centers and Mission Houses that served meals were open not only to the homeless and needy but for everyone who comes in hungry were well-fed and taken care of by them.
The Weather Alerts, Ice Storm Warning and the Major Disaster
The EC (Environment Canada) issued a weather alert and an ice storm warning to all Southern Ontario and beyond the path of the storm. TWN (The Weather Network) forecast was issued based on the weather radar and the EC alerts/warning/etc. By Friday night at the heat of rush hour the freezing rain started and the ice storm was on its way to becoming the second major ice storm disaster since January, 1998 in the Province of Quebec that crippled the entire area for days due to power outages.
The Major Ice Storm of December 2013
Few days before Christmas Eve, the ice storm started with freezing drizzle, then freezing rain all night long till the dawn and early morning. Downed power lines and fallen trees were all you can see from one end to the rest of the swath that the ice storm went through.
The Long Clean-Up after the Massive Ice Storm
Toronto Hydro power crews had cancelled all their vacations for now to get the power restored. And our neighboring province, Manitoba sent 40 Hydro Crews from their own cities to help us restore power here. When British Columbia had a major winter storm a year ago, Ontario who had over 200 snow plows and ice/sand trucks were dispatched 20 snow plows and a few ice/sand trucks to Vancouver to help them in snow removal and salt/sand their icy highways since the only had 2 snow plows and one ice/sand truck to deal with the first huge snowfall they got for decades in the city. Of course, they get snow in the mountains of B.C but not usually in the city proper.
Back to our ice storm, and just as we thought that the worse was over, the weather warmed up to 3 degrees Centigrade causing all those ice buildup on roofs, building sides and overhead roads to melt and fall off causing more damage so a warning was issued to motorists and the population to stay away from falling ice conditions all over.
We are so grateful now that it is almost finally over and the hundreds of thousands residents have their power restored except for the remaining few who will get their power as soon as the crews can get to it. Then yesterday another winter snowstorm was here leaving us with a few centimeters of snow to shovel on top of the ice buildup that we have to scrape from the driveway and sidewalks. And all of these happened in the Ice Storm of December 2013.