Ontario Storm: three dead, more than 350K without power

Three people have died and more than 350,000 are without power after an intense thunderstorm ravaged southern Ontario on Saturday afternoon.

The emergency weather system caused fallen trees and downed power lines to get in their way as emergency services across the province were inundated with calls for help.

The tragedy first struck in Brampton, where police said a woman in her 70s was walking alone near Belmont Drive and Birchbank Road when she was struck by a falling tree.

Mubbsher Zaman was nearby when he said he saw two feet sticking out from under the branches.

“We kept saying to the lady, ‘Don’t worry. Keep breathing. Keep breathing,’ Zaman told CTV News Toronto.

The woman was taken to hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.

deadly storm

Hours later, county police said a tree had fallen on a camper van in the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area near Kitchener, killing one and injuring two others.

The deaths are not limited to the Greater Toronto Area. Police in Ottawa confirmed late Saturday night that one person had died in the storm, although details surrounding their deaths were not immediately released.

Provincial party leaders took to social media in the wake of the storm to express their condolences to the friends and families of the victims.

During the height of the extreme weather, Toronto Fire said it received nearly 150 calls from people seeking help. At the same time, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) was forced to close the non-emergency service due to the influx of calls.

const. Alex Li said TPS received as many as 360 calls for service within the space of two hours.

Deputy Fire Chief Tony Bavota told CP24 on Saturday that a firefighter was injured after being struck by a falling tree while responding to a 911 call and being transported to hospital in stable condition.

At least one other person was seriously injured in downtown Toronto as high winds and rain hit the city. The details of that incident are unclear, but Toronto Paramedic Services told CP24 that a woman in her 40s was transported to a trauma center as a result of her injuries.

GTA storm

OVER 350K WITHOUT POWER

At the time of writing, and according to Hydro One, more than 350,000 people are without power as a result of the storm.

The company said it is responding to power outages across the province and advised people to stay at least 10 meters away from fallen power lines, even if they don’t appear to be live.

In Toronto, the exact number of people without power is unknown as the Toronto Hydro outage map is unavailable “due to the high number of power outages”

In a statement to CP24, the company said it was still assessing the extent of damage and that equipment broken during the storm could hinder recovery efforts.

“In many cases, trees and branches must first be removed to make the area safe for our crews to work,” a spokesperson said. “We remind our customers to stay safe, especially if they encounter a downed power line.”

Storm

WEATHER WARNING ISSUED

At about 12:45 a.m., an Environment Canada warning was sent to telephones, TV screens and radio stations in Ontario warning residents to “take cover” as the impending weather approached.

The agency said the option to issue a severe weather alert was included in their system last June, but this is the first time it has been used.

Officials said they chose to use the warning because of strong winds near Kitchener that are expected to blow at about 80 miles per hour.

At Pearson Airport in Toronto, there were gusts of 120 kilometers per hour around 1 p.m.

Storm warning

EMERGENCY IN UXBRIDGE

Uxbridge has declared a local state of emergency after the town suffered significant damage from the storm.

Officials said widespread power outages are underway and many roads have been forced to close due to fallen power lines and fallen trees.

Footage taken by CP24 shows the destruction on the ground with vehicles parked, nearly summed up and surrounded by nearby destroyed structures.

Although not confirmed by Environment Canada, there are reports online that a tornado has crashed into the area and near Whitchurch-Stouffville.

Residents who spoke to Bakari Savage of CP24 said they expect the cleanup to take months.

With files by Katherine DeClerq

Storm

Leave a Comment