October 30, 2012
Ontario, Quebec clean up after killer Sandy
By QMI Agency
Post-tropical storm Sandy weakened as the system moved inland and blew itself out Tuesday, and residents of southern Ontario and Quebec were left to pick up the pieces.
Rain lashed the region Monday night and into the early morning hours of Tuesday, and strong winds knocked down trees and hydro lines.
Gusts as blustery as 121 km/h hit Sarnia, Ont., and winds of 80-91 km/h were reported from Toronto to Quebec City.
At the height of the storm, more than 150,000 homes and businesses across Ontario were in the dark. Crews continued to work on lines throughout the day, getting communities back on the grid slowly.
One Toronto couple said they were lucky to be alive after a 100-year-old oak tree in their neighbour's backyard crashed through the roof of their bedroom in the wee hours of Tuesday morning and cracked the house open like an egg.
"We could have both been dead," said Barry Waldman, 70. "If the tree had fallen a couple of feet further to the north, it would have come through the bedroom walls - both sides - and would have landed right on us."
At least one person in Toronto was killed as Sandy's winds blew down a Staples store sign Monday night and struck a woman in her 50s on the back of the head, police said.
Schools throughout the province - a dozen in Toronto alone - remained closed Tuesday due to power outages.
Imperial Oil's refinery in Sarnia, Ont., was shut down for a while, but was able to restart production Tuesday morning, the company said.
Ontario Energy Minister Chris Bentley said Tuesday afternoon that most of the 70,000 customers still without power could expect to have it restored within 24 hours. Those in remote areas might have to wait longer.
Another 20,000 Hydro-Quebec clients remained blacked out on Tuesday afternoon after power was restored to nearly 30,000 others, but there were no reports of injuries in that province.
Sandy weakened considerably after it hit land Monday in the U.S., and continued to slow down and dissipate as it moved across the Great Lakes,
By late Tuesday afternoon, Sandy had "lost all of its tropical characteristics," Environment Canada said.
However, wind gusts and rain will continue in parts of eastern Canada into Tuesday and Wednesday. Meteorologists left rainfall warnings in effect for Quebec and southewestern Maritimes, where heavy rain is expected -- possibly more than 50 mm -- from another weather system and as the remnants of Sandy push north. The forecast for southern Ontario called for steady light rainfall or showers.
Hundreds of flights from Canadian airports to the U.S. east coast were cancelled Tuesday.
But while Sandy pounded Eastern Canada, this country was relatively spared from the wrath of the so-called superstorm compared to the destruction south of the border.
In the U.S., 29 people have died as a result of the storm, CNN reported Tuesday afternoon, and power outages knocked out electricity to 8.1 million homes and businesses.
New York City's subway service will likely remain closed for four or five days after the storm flooded the low-lying areas of the city, but the New York Stock Exchange is expected to reopen Wednesday after being shut down for two days.
-- With files from Reuters and Kelly Roche