The Toronto Ice Storm – Power outages continue on the day before Christmas
For the past 3 or more years, we had “Green Christmas” since our winters were so mild, snow melted so fast. Then we wished for a “White Christmas” and we got it but little did we know that when our wish was granted, it also came with the “Dark Christmas” and the power outages that occurred after the ice storm. The day after the winter storm that brought lots of snow, came the other major ice storm in Canadian history. The first major ice storm of January, 1998 in the Quebec region crippled their province and caused so much damage and power outages, too.
Restoring all power by Christmas Day is “impossible,” as the struggle continues to get the electricity back on for hundred thousands of Toronto residents who lost power in the major ice storm on the weekend. As of Tuesday morning Toronto Hydro, our main power provider said there were about 115,000 customers left without power and have restored power to over 345,000 customers already who lost their power due to downed lines and fallen trees causing most of the damage. When the branches get weighed down by too much ice accumulation, they have the tendency to break from the main tree or even take out the main tree, then collapse bringing down electrical wires on posts nearby.
The city mayor said Scarborough was the hardest hit by the storm and power outages occurred, adding that North York and Etobicoke were also badly hit. Even the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) was also hit hard and suffered so much damages. Power outages have been experienced in most parts of the city and suburbs. Some of us were lucky enough to have our power back on after a few hours but others have to wait hours, days and maybe a week to get their power back on track. The Toronto Hydro crews have cancelled all their vacations to be able to help and restore power everywhere in town. Other cities were also badly hit and some of them have waited hours and days before getting their power back.
Those people who parked their cars outside during the ice storm were not lucky enough since some of them were hit by fallen branches and collapsed trees causing considerable damages on their vehicles. Everybody who parked their cars in their indoor garages were smart enough to avoid any damage from the devastating ice storm. The cars and the streets were also covered with thick ice up to 3 centimeters of ice. The tree branches and trees that collapsed were also covered with ice and the weight of the ice just brought them down causing downed power lines all over the place. Even the power wires were covered with thick ice and some of them just came crashing down due to the heavy ice accumulation.
Some enterprising kids took to the streets on their skates since walking on ice would be impossible. At least they can skate on their streets for now that no drivers would venture on icy streets. If you drive over icy roads, you can get your car into a ditch and out of control since the wheels don’t have any traction on ice and will just slide and spin your car around. When you drive over a patch of ice or on icy roads and you find your car spinning a few times, then don’t put your brakes on cause it will just cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Try to steer your car in the direction you want to go and look forward not around you. Check your speed and slow down and try to stop your car on the spot that is safe to park even just to recover from your bad experience.
Once I was making a left turn on a slippery road after some freezing rain happened and I almost lost control of my car. I put the car on neutral since I was only on the 2nd gear making that left turn. I never expected the car to slip and slide so fast. I saw the TTC Bus infront of me picking up passengers and there was no way I can stop my car from spinning and moving towards the stationary bus. I was about 3 or 4 car lengths away and there was a huge sidewalk with an iron fence around. When my car slipped and slide to the right after I made that left turn, I was hoping not to hit the bus ahead of me. My car was slowing down from the centrifugal force of turning and moving to the right so fast. All I can do now was pray and closed my eyes. Then I expected the sound of a big bang from the crash about to happen hitting that bus. A second or two have gone by and there was just complete silence. I couldn’t hear anything except the birds tweeting on nearby trees. What happened?
I thought that I have crashed and gone to heaven but fortunately the bus was still in front of me on the icy road and my car have jumped the curve and went into the empty sidewalk beside the iron fence. I opened my closed eyes and to my big surprise, I was still alive and kicking! My car was still intact and it stopped right there on the sidewalk big enough to fit my car. It was so scary that I almost had an accident and hit the bus or that iron fence, but luckily I survived out of sheer luck perhaps. In all probability my car was headed for disaster, since it was spinning and sliding but for some reason my car stopped right there on the sidewalk where it jumped the curve. It was a miracle, I should say. One in a million chance that I could avoid hitting a bus and it happened. I was so grateful at my good luck so instead of going straight home from work, I passed by our Parish Church to thank the Lord and my special Angel for saving me from danger and keep me out of harm’s way. I have survived this incident unscathed and gave thanks for the second life that I got now. It’s good to be alive even after experiencing that harrowing event.
Now back to the nightmare before Christmas. That major ice storm left us with so much memories in retrospect for 2013. We still have no power and our Christmas celebration is somewhat spoiled but we can always do that next Christmas in 2014. No more wishing for a white Christmas, lesson learned. Be careful for what you wish for, as they often say. You might get more than what you bargained for. Well, Christmas 2013 is a complete write off but we are charging it to experience.
Have you ever been in the midst of a major ice storm and survived to tell about it? I have and we are still grateful that we came out of it unscathed and more experienced than ever before. Maybe we can still open our Christmas presents on Christmas day during the daytime instead of Christmas Eve gift opening not in the dark due to power outage. Even if we will have a dark Christmas Eve, eating cold cuts sandwiches instead of a hot from the oven stuffed turkey, we are still happy since we have our family get together in a simple quite way. We have popped the champagne for New Year’s Eve now and maybe we will trade Christmas Eve with 2014 New Year’s Eve and have a big celebration with more champagne and turkey with all its trimmings and best wishes for the Happy Holidays.
May you all have a meaningful Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year! Joyeux Noël et bonne année! Feliz Navidad y feliz año nuevo! Maligayang Pasko at masayang bagong taon!