Monday, December 23, 2013

Winter Ice Storm 2013

It seemed innocent when it fell to the ground as rain but the ice grew quickly on everything it touched. In Toronto 24.8 mm of freezing rain began to weigh down trees which bent under the added weight and soon branches, large limbs and ice began crashing to the ground. The storm event started on Friday and continued over the weekend from December 20-22, 2013.
My power was out from Saturday night until early Monday morning. Here are pictures of the storm from my little town of Acton.

The wires could handle the ice but the lines could not withstand the onslaught of heavy trees and branches
A hydro substation has no electrical supply
A tree limb lays across two primary distribution circuits

And here is storm information from the City of Toronto, The City Fire Department and GO Transit.

December 23, 2013 City of Toronto storm update

The City of Toronto is continuing to provide updated information this morning on ongoing impacts and the City's response to the ice storm. City staff scheduled to work today are asked to report for their regular shifts to continue to deliver as many services as possible to residents, businesses and visitors.

Toronto Hydro is currently reporting that approximately 225,000 customers are without power. Hydro crews have been and will continue working around the clock to respond. The utility hopes to have power restored by Wednesday. Call Toronto Hydro's Lights Out number, 416-542-8000, for serious situations only.

Read more after the jump.

The City's emergency services (Fire, Emergency Medical Services and Police) are operating and managing increased call volumes. Residents are reminded to only call 911 in the event of an emergency. The non-emergency number for Toronto Police Service is 416-808-2222. Residents who use home oxygen and have concerns can call 416-310-2222 for assistance.

The TTC has made progress restoring system service, with streetcar service resuming on all routes. There is currently no service on the Sheppard subway line and the Scarborough RT due to hydro-related issues and cleanup after the storm. Please check for updates and service alerts.

GO Transit is operating an Adjusted Winter Schedule today. Check schedule details at

The City's Transportation Services Division reports that approximately 100 traffic signals are not working but the count may change as power is restored. Salting operations are continuing on collector roads, local roads and sidewalks. The following roads in Scarborough are closed to traffic as they are not safe due to fallen power lines and trees:
- Old Kingston Road from Military Trail to Manse Road
- Military Trail from Old Kingston Road to Bobmar Road
- St. Andrews Road from Meldazy Drive to Suraty Avenue
- Colonel Danforth Trail - Bonacres Avenue to dead end
- Highview Avenue at Lillington Avenue
- Pinegrove Road at South Edgely Avenue.

The City is operating nine Reception Centres where vulnerable residents and those who need assistance can access food, water, warmth and rest. Pets are welcome:
- Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Drive (Eglinton/DonMills)
- Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd, (Neilson/Rd/Finch)
- Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Walford Rd (Sheppard/Midland)
- Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane Street (between Finch and Steeles)
- Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Avenue (Yonge/Finch)
- Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Avenue West (St Clair/Keele)
- Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard Street East (Pape/Gerrard)
- Franklin Horner Community Centre, 432 Horner Avenue (Kipling/Lakeshore)
- 2 Civic Centre Court – Adjacent to Etobicoke Community Centre (West Mall and 427)

Community centres with power are expected to operate as usual; those without power will be closed. There may be some program and operating impacts at community centres that are being used as Reception Centres.
Toronto public libraries with power are expected to operate as usual; those without power will be closed.

Branches without power so far are: Oakwood Village, Mount Pleasant, Perth, Dupont, Maria A. Shchuka, Wychwood, North York Central, Bayview, Centennial, Yorkwoods, Jane Sheppard, Hillcrest, Weston Road, Eatonville, Alderwood, Mimico, Swansea, Jane Dundas, Woodview Park, Richview, Bendell, Burrows Hall, Goldhawk, Highland Creek, Morningside, Port Union and McGregor Park.

The Toronto District School Board has advised that all Early Learning and Child Care Centres operated by the City of Toronto and located in TDSB sites will be closed tomorrow. A list of the sites is available at

All Toronto Catholic District School Board facilities and daycare centres will be closed today and tomorrow. Toronto Children's Services is planning to send children home at locations where the power is off. Parents should try to contact their child care centre or provider prior to drop off to determine whether service will be available.

Ice storm related safety tips from Toronto Fire Services

Toronto Fire Services offers residents the following tips for staying safe in the aftermath of the ice storm.

Candle safety
• use a sturdy holder
• make sure glass shade higher than flame to protect against loose clothing becoming ignited
• position candle away from combustibles
• blow out the flame when you leave the room
• keep lighters, matches and candles away from children

Carbon monoxide and smoke detectors
• ensure that the batteries are working

• avoid operating propane, natural gas or charcoal barbecues indoors – if not properly vented, using them will create a carbon monoxide (CO) hazard
• ensure that your stove is clear of combustibles and is turned off or unplugged to avoid a fire when the power comes back on
• leave kettles and other small appliances unplugged

• ensure the fireplace screen is in place if burning fuel in a fireplace
• avoid burning trash or paper in a fireplace, as flaming paper can travel up the chimney and land on your roof
• provide at least one metre of clearance from combustibles for an electric space heater
• do not use stove, barbecue or camping gear for heating your home, as they create a CO and burn hazard

Power outage
• do not operate generators inside home, garage, or near windows or vents where exhaust could migrate indoors
• refuel outside and after generator has cooled
• use a flashlight rather than a candle for light

Being prepared for emergencies such as severe snow or ice storms, hurricanes or floods can significantly reduce damage inflicted on your property. With the associated risks of flooded basements and power failures, residents should be ready to be self-sufficient for at least three days. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water and sanitation.

As part of emergency planning, all Toronto residents should have a three-day supply on hand for each family member of the following items:
• Ensure you have critical medications on hand.
• Drinking water (keep water in containers and fill your bathtub)
• Canned food and a manual can opener
• Batteries for flashlights and radios
• A first aid kit
• Gasoline for your car
• A transistor radio
• Cash

Residents are reminded to:
• Keep cell phone batteries charged
• Know the locations of all electrical panels, and water and gas shutoff valves in your home
• Keep flashlights where you can find them in the dark
• Consider using surge protectors to protect sensitive electronic equipment
• Try to keep children and pets indoors and consider working from home
• When shovelling or clearing ice, residents are reminded not to over-exert themselves, consider their fitness level, and take frequent breaks
• Please do not push snow back out onto the roadway.
• Please offer to help elderly neighbours or those individuals who may need some assistance

Safety on the road:
• Toronto Transportation has cleared and salted all main roads
• Avoid driving if possible and exercise caution when you must do so
• Please be very careful and watch for any debris especially tree branches that may be on the roadway
• If traffic signals are out, treat the affected intersections as a four-way stop
• Call 311 to report non-working traffic signals
• Pedestrians should exercise caution as sidewalks are very slippery; watch for falling ice when walking by buildings.
• Residents can assist by cleaning catch basins in front of their house to help water run off the roads and reduce the risk of flooded streets.

During a power outage:
• Exercise extreme caution when using candles
• Unplug or turn off all appliances to avoid possible damage when power resumes
• Turn off water to the clothes washer and dishwasher if they are in use when the power goes out
• Leave a light or radio on so you will know when power is restored
• When power has been restored, check all fuses to ensure that none have been blown, before calling Toronto Hydro
• Plug in only the most essential appliances first, and wait 10 to 15 minutes to give the electrical system time to stabilize before connecting everything else.

How to report a power outage or power lines down:
• Call Toronto Hydro-Electric System’s Lights Out number at 416-542-8000 for serious situations only. Call volumes continue to be very high; please be patient and keep the lines open for serious occurrences.

After power is restored, try to limit electricity use to help relieve potential strain on the system. Energy conservation tips include:
• Turning off all non-essential internal and external lights
• Limiting the use of major power-consuming equipment such as dishwashers, washers and dryers

Food Safety:
During a power outage, food kept in the refrigerator or freezer may become unsafe to eat. The following tips can help ensure food is stored safely in the event of a power outage:
• Keep your refrigerator door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, the refrigerator section will keep foods cool for four to six hours – if the door is kept closed.
• Throw out perishable foods such as meat, fish, poultry, eggs and leftovers that have been at temperatures above 4°C for more than two hours.
• Keep your freezer door closed to maintain the temperature inside. Without power, an upright or chest freezer that is completely full will keep food frozen for about 48 hours – if the door is kept closed. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours.
• Foods that have thawed in the freezer may be refrozen if they still contain ice crystals or are at 4°C or below – evaluate each item separately.
• Partial thawing and refreezing may reduce the quality of some food, but food will remain safe to eat.
• If possible, add bags of ice to the refrigerator and freezer to keep temperatures cooler for a longer period.
• Discard any items in the freezer or refrigerator that have come into contact with raw meat juices.
• If you are in doubt about whether a food item has spoiled, throw it out.
• Contact your doctor or pharmacist for information about proper storage of medication that requires refrigeration, such as insulin.
GO Trains weather related operational issues; a foreman checking the tracks for fallen trees. Current delay..... Today I waited two hours in the cold for GO Trains that did not come. On Saturday a VIA train was stuck in the crossing and the warning arm would not go back up.
General Train Information Adjusted Winter Storm Schedule:
We are operating an Adjusted Winter Schedule today due to impacts of the severe ice storm. Please check schedule details at to help plan your commute.
This storm has had a substantial impact on the GO System including power outages at some stations. We ask that you be extra careful in and around the station platforms, sidewalks and parking lots due to slippery conditions and the potential for falling ice. Please also allow yourself extra travel time. We thank you for your patience.

A pickup truck traveling on the railway tracks checks for trees on the tracks

Related Posts by Categories

Widget by Hoctro | Jack Book

No comments:

Doors Open

Scarborough Bluffs





Lake Ontario

Nathan Phillips Square