DAN CEARNS, The Standard
NORTH DURHAM/KAWARTHA: A large wind storm knocked down power lines, tore trees out of the ground and knocked out power for many residents across Ontario over the Victoria Day long weekend.
According to Environment Canada, the storm, which hit on Saturday, May 21st, was classified as a Derecho, which is described as “a widespread long-lived windstorm associated with a line of thunderstorms.”
Environment Canada states the Derecho “developed near Sarnia late Saturday morning and tracked northeastward over Southern Ontario, crossing Ottawa Saturday afternoon,” and “damaging wind gusts were reported over a large swath of Southern Ontario.”
In Uxbridge, peak wind gusts were reported to be 100 kilometres per hour, and 120 kilometres per hour was the peak wind gust speed at the Ottawa International Airport.
As of press time, some North Durham and Kawartha Lakes homes remain without power. In a May 24th press release, Hydro One stated they had restored power to over 479,500 of their customers, but over 150,000 customers remain without electricity.
“Damage includes more than 1,400 broken poles, 300 broken crossarms, nearly 200 damaged transformers, and countless downed trees and branches,” the press release read. “Hydro One crews, along with approximately 500 employees from other utilities, including out-of-province and international partners and contractors, have mobilized in the hardest-hit areas of central and eastern Ontario to assist with restoration efforts.
Due to the severity of the damage, restoration efforts are expected to continue for several days before power is restored to all customers.”
On May 21st, the Township of Scugog reported via Twitter, they had “numerous downed trees resulting in downed power lines causing road closures,” and their roads crew was “working with Fire and Emergency Services to assist with assessment and clean up.”
The Township of Uxbridge declared a state of emergency on May 21st.
“The State of Emergency will remain in effect until further notice. Our first concern is for the safety and security of our residents. If you have elderly or at-risk family or friends you have not been able to contact since the storm, please check on them. If you cannot check on them yourself and have immediate concerns for their safety, please contact local police,” read a statement from the Township, posted on Sunday, May 22nd.
The Township added about “36 properties were damaged and required Building Officials to issue legislative orders to repair.”
“A few properties were determined to be unsafe for occupancy due to immediate danger to occupants. Many other properties were inspected, and the damage sustained did not warrant building safety concerns. Building inspections will continue as needed,” the Township’s update read.
Environment Canada noted, “Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project continues to investigate whether there were tornadoes embedded in the Derecho.”