Windstorm leaves 100 000 homes without power in Ontario, Canada


A powerful windstorm swept through southern Ontario, Canada, on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, leaving more than 100 000 customers without power and disrupting both air and road traffic. 

Environment Canada issued a wind warning for the region, saying residents should brace for hazardous road conditions. The warning was lifted at around 00:00 UTC (20:00 local time) on April 4.

"Roads may be slippery at times locally this evening and overnight," the weather agency said. "Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur."

Numerous reports of damage, including windows blown out of buildings and cranes toppling, came in as the cold front cut a brutal path across the southern tier of the province.

According to Ontario power utility Hydro One, more than 80 000 of its customers were without power Wednesday afternoon, but that number was down to about 44 000 before the day's end.

Toronto Hydro said about 3 000 customers remained without power as midnight approached, down from a peak of about 21 000 earlier in the day.

Alectra Utilities said about 15 000 customers were without power in Hamilton and Mississauga, Ontario. Numerous downed power lines were also reported.

Hydro Quebec reported more than 65 000 outages as of 03:00 UTC (23:00 local time), primarily in the suburbs south of Montreal.

According to Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Tori Gass, blackouts scattered throughout the city were directly related to the wind, which had been gusting upwards of 90 km/h (56 mp/h). Extra crews had been on standby and were working to fix the downed lines and repair the outages, she said, according to The National Post.

"The high winds have caused 297 outages affecting over 84 000 customers," Hydro One said in a statement. "It is expected that the high winds will continue throughout the evening, increasing the potential for further damage. Where safe, Hydro One crews are out assessing damage and restoring power to customers."

Provincial police said up to 50 vehicles were involved in a multi-vehicle collision on Highway 400 near Barrie, Ontario north of Toronto.

According to Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, there were no serious injuries in the crash,  adding it appeared to be weather-related.

In eastern Ontario, a pedestrian was hit by a tree knocked down by the wind, and the person was taken to hospital with minor injuries, Constable Adam Donaldson said.

"It's wind anarchy in our city right now, there are trees falling down everywhere," Donaldson told, according to The National Post.

Powerful winds caused a crane to partially collapse in Mississauga, west of Toronto. Constable Bally Saini, a spokeswoman with Peel Regional Police, said no injuries were reported, but officers were on scene to ensure no one would be hurt as crews worked to stabilize the crane.

The windstorm also caused problems in the air, with national transportation agency NAV Canada slowing the rate of landings at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

"There are a few delays on account of the weather but planes are still arriving and departing," said Natalie Moncur, a spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.

Toronto's downtown Billy Bishop airport tweeted that "crews are working hard to keep flights moving, but wind and weather may pose greater challenges into the evening."

Conditions will be much quieter on April 5, but eyes are on a clipper that will strengthen as it tracks through the Great Lakes on April 5 – 6, according to The Weather Network. If the track stands as-is, parts of southern Ontario could see 2 to 5 cm of snow (0.8 to 2 inches).

"The highest totals will likely be across northern areas – well north of the 401 and above the escarpment," says Weather Network meteorologist Dr. Doug Gillham.

Friday also stands to be another windy day with gusts up to 60 km/h (37 mp/h).

Featured image: Barry Gray / Twitter

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