Hurricane Sandy Leaves Torontonians ‘Powerless’

By Kristina Skorbach
Kristina Skorbach
Kristina Skorbach
Kristina Skorbach is a Canadian correspondent based in New York City covering entertainment news.
October 30, 2012 Updated: October 1, 2015
Epoch Times Photo
The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel is flooded after a tidal surge caused by Hurricane Sandy on Oct. 30, 2012, in Manhattan, New York. The storm has claimed at least 33 lives in the United States and caused massive flooding across much of the Atlantic seaboard. While the U.S. saw more severe impacts from the storm, Sandy caused power outages across parts of southern Ontario, including Toronto. (Allison Joyce/Getty Images)

TORONTO—Reports of a flooded New York City and other parts of the northern U.S. might make Toronto residents feel fortunate hurricane Sandy bypassed them without major damage. Toronto Hydro, however, reported that the city’s eastern coast experienced a large volume of power outages.

The hardest-hit areas are Scarborough, Leaside, the Junction, East York, and Upper Beaches, according to Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited (Toronto Hydro). The electricity distributor, which provides over 700,000 customers in the city with power, reported that 60,000 Toronto customers experienced power outages by around 4 a.m. Tuesday morning.

That was the peak of calls to the utility company, according to company spokesperson Gillian Earle. The call centre received another large wave of calls when people were waking up to outages.

Power outages were due to strong winds bringing down trees and powerlines, and the company put in an emergency preparedness plan that ramped up staff at the call centre and the number of crews working outside the plant.

“We’ve also suspended all of our planned work and have all of those crews dedicated to these power restoration efforts,” said Earle.

Every available crew member and employee at Toronto Hydro in the city is working to restore power; however, residents should be prepared to remain without power for most of the day.

By around noon on Tuesday, Toronto Hydro restored power for 28,000 customers. By 2 p.m., the company sent out a press release noting that 85 percent of customers had their power restored.

The main focus for work crews are the largest affected areas, followed by individual power outages. The company assured residents that if they have called in, their call is logged and they will be assisted as soon as possible.

Earle assured residents that crews will work around the clock until they restore all the power in the city.

Environment Canada warned Ontarians that the Toronto area will experience severe winds and rain throughout the day although the initially estimated gusts of 100 km/hr have weakened.

The town of Whitchurch-Stouffville advised residents to secure or bring indoors anything that could be potentially blown away. Residents were also urged to clear leaves from drains on their properties and eavestroughs, according to York Region News.

Torontonians also suffered from transit delays, where power lines were knocked down and some buses and light rail needed to detour. Toronto Pearson Airport cancelled many flights inbound and outbound on Monday and some until Tuesday afternoon.

The massive tropical storm began causing damage first in the Caribbean over the weekend, swept through north-eastern U.S. on Monday night, hitting southern Ontario through the night, and continues to swirl up to Quebec this Tuesday. Although the rainfall and wind gusts have weakened significantly, residents are cautioned to stay alert.

Those looking for updates on the storm can visit the Environment Canada website at Toronto residents who have discovered a power outage can report it to Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000.

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Kristina Skorbach is a Canadian correspondent based in New York City covering entertainment news.