Friday, April 07, 2006

Storm Knocked Out Power for 100,000 Hydro Customers in Ontario

Thousands of people planning to watch yesterday's Super Bowl game were left out in the cold as power remained off in parts of Ontario still reeling from a blast of winter weather on Saturday.

About 50,000 customers were still without power last night after wet snow and wind gusts of nearly 60 km/h downed power lines and knocked over trees in parts of western, southern and central Ontario.

Outages were reported in Owen Sound, Parry Sound, Penetanguishene, Barrie, Bracebridge, Huntsville and as far south as Guelph and London.

In Dorchester, Ont., just outside of London, two people died after their minivan was broadsided by a train. The driver of the minivan had apparently seen the train approaching and tried to stop, but lost control of the vehicle. It spun onto the tracks as the crossing gates came down, police said. With the train fast-approaching, the driver hit the accelerator, but the wheels spun in the snow. Police said it may be another day before the bodies are identified, Canadian Press reported. Earlier yesterday, as many as 100,000 customers were enduring outages. Hydro One sent out additional crews and said it was doing all it could to restore electricity to the affected areas. Some homes and businesses have been without hydro since 6 p.m. on Saturday when the storm system, which began in the southern United States, crept into Ontario. Temperatures were expected to dip to as low as minus 16C last night, Environment Canada predicted. "There are definitely going to be a number of people still without power overnight," said Hydro One spokeswoman Enza Cancilla. "We hope to have everything back to normal by the end of the day.

"Cancilla said Hydro One might be able to restore power to as many as 20,000 customers overnight. The remaining 30,000 would likely have to wait until this afternoon. Light rain turned to wet snow as temperatures fell below freezing overnight Saturday.

Environment Canada reported nearly 30 cm of wet snowfall in London and Owen Sound, caking power lines and causing trees to sag.Toronto was largely spared from the poor weather, receiving rain and some light snow.


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