Spring storm causes widespread power outages, property damage
Published Friday, May 4, 2018 7:51AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, May 4, 2018 8:34PM EDT
Southern Ontario was battered by persistent, unrelenting and briefly hurricane- strength winds Friday afternoon.
At the Region of Waterloo International Airport, a peak gust of 122 km/h was recorded. If sustained, that would have been considered a hurricane-strength wind.
The winds caused widespread power outages. At the peak of the damage, during the early evening hours, at least 200,000 properties across southern Ontario were without electricity.
By 8 p.m., many of the largest outages had been restored, particularly in urban areas.
Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro was still dealing with 24 separate outages affecting a total of about 10,600 customers. Some of the largest outages were on the east side of Kitchener, affecting the Stanley Park, Eastwood and Kingsdale neighbourhoods. It was expected that people living in those areas would have their service restored by 10 p.m.
Power had been restored in most of Waterloo and Wellesley Township after lengthy, major outages in those areas. Waterloo North Hydro was reporting about 1,700 customers without power in the Breslau area, with no estimated restoration time available.
Another major outage was reported in the Cambridge core and West Galt. More than 3,700 people were without power in the most impactful of the 27 outages Energy+ had on the go.
Guelph Hydro was reporting a significant outage in Rockwood. For a time, all 3,000 customers in that community were without power. By 8 p.m., that number had been cut to about 1,300. The Hanlon Parkway was closed between Maltby and Laird roads for several hours.
Hydro One was dealing with more than 100 isolated outages in southern Ontario alone. Some of the biggest in our area included one between New Hamburg and Stratford, another in the Drumbo area, and a third running east from Arthur.
While Hydro One crews were dispatched to some of the biggest outages Friday evening, Hydro One warned that some customers might not see their power return until at least Saturday.
The high winds were accompanied by a fast-moving line of afternoon thunderstorms. Environment Canada said it received some reports of hail accompanying the storms.
For a look at how the storm unfolded, including photos of damage and the story of a man being rescued from a stuck elevator, see the live updates below.
8:19 p.m.: The winds have died down, the torrent of damage reports has slowed to a trickle, and we're bringing our live updates to a close. If you have photos or video of storm damage, send it to us through MyNews.
8:17 p.m.: Environment Canada has ended its wind warning for Waterloo-Wellington.
8:08 p.m.: Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro says most major outages in Kitchener should be fixed by 10 p.m.
8:03 p.m.: Boida Avenue in North Dumfries, near Highway 401 and Cedar Creek Road, will be closed until Monday due to significant damage to hydro lines.
8:02 p.m.: The power outage in Rockwood is now affecting about 1,400 Guelph Hydro customers, down from 3,100 at its peak.
7:58 p.m.: Guelph Hydro says it will likely be "a few hours" before power is restored in Rockwood. At issue is a loss of supply from Hydro One.
7:42 p.m.: Scenes like this are playing out all over southern Ontario tonight.
7:33 p.m.: Energy+ says power has been restored to most of the Ayr area. About 220 customers remain in the dark, mainly to the west of the village.
7:31 p.m.: Power has been restored to most Waterloo North Hydro customers in Wellesley Township. One outage caused by a fallen tree continues to affect 34 properties in the southwest corner of the township.
7:28 p.m.: Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro has restored power to several thousand customers, although 26 separate outages continue to affect 11,000 of its customers.
7:16 p.m.: Environment Canada has ended its wind warnings for Huron-Perth and the London area. Presumably it won't be long before the same is done for Waterloo-Wellington.
7:11 p.m.: Guelph's mayor has lost his barbecue cover. If you find it, please let him know.
If anyone finds a BBQ cover...it’s mine. #Guelph— Mayor Cam Guthrie (@CamGuthrie) May 4, 2018
7:06 p.m.: East of Cambridge, all lanes of Highway 8 have been closed at Safari Road due to debris on the road.
7:05 p.m.: This video shows large pieces of debris flying off the roof of a building on Frobisher Drive in Waterloo, narrowly missing people and vehicles.
7:01 p.m.: Waterloo North Hydro is reporting that power has been restored to the city's east end and to rural areas northeast of the city. About 5,000 rural customers northwest of the city and 1,700 customers in the Breslau area remain without power.
6:56 p.m.: Guelph Hydro says a new power outage is affecting more than 3,000 properties in Rockwood. Outages in Guelph at this point are small and isolated.
6:52 p.m.: A downed tree has closed Main Street in Rockwood between Wellington Road 27 and Gzowski Street.
6:51 p.m.: Westbound lanes of Highway 401 have reopened in the Drumbo area.
6:46 p.m.: The Hanlon Parkway is now closed in both directions between Maltby and Laird roads.
6:36 p.m.: As you can imagine, there are many, many phone calls pouring into police services around our area. The OPP have asked that people only call 911 for emergencies.
6:33 p.m.: 2,152 properties in and around Ayr continue to be without power. Our cameras captured firefighters dealing with downed lines on Darrell Drive.
6:31 p.m.: Fifth Line is Centre Wellington has been closed between Sideroad 30 and County Road 22 due to downed hydro lines.
6:24 p.m.: Waterloo Regional Police are currently reporting 137 collisions and dangerous conditions (downed trees, power light outages, etc.) within the region. We're hearing of a number of road closures in Wellesley Township due to downed trees and hydro equipment.
6:17 p.m.: Waterloo North Hydro says it has restored power to areas around the uptown core. Much of the city's east end remains in the dark, as do thousands of rural customers.
6:14 p.m.: Westbound lanes of Highway 401 have been closed between Oxford Road 3 and Township Road 8 in the Drumbo area so a vehicle can be removed. It's not clear when the highway will reopen.
6:13 p.m.: When the power goes out, elevators become stuck. We've heard a few reports of people becoming stuck in elevators in Waterloo Region this afternoon.
6:12 p.m.: Here's some video of a sign outside a Hespeler Road business being blown over.
6:05 p.m.: The Grand River Conservation Authority has closed a number of its parks and trails indefinitely. Full details here.
5:58 p.m.: Highway 6 has reopened north of Fergus following a truck rollover.
5:57 p.m.: Police have confirmed that one person has died and another is in life-threatening condition after they were hit by a tree in Milton. CP24 has full coverage of that story.
5:54 p.m.: A tree fell on a vehicle in the Elmira area, missing the driver's seat by only a few feet.
Rural Officers responding to reports of downed trees and power lines. Thankfully only property damage in this incident on Arthur St S @Woolwichupdates @WRPSToday @WilmotTownship @wellesley_ca #OnStorm @weathernetwork pic.twitter.com/54zmOfJOFs— Sgt Kelly Gibson (@WRPS_RuralSgt) May 4, 2018
5:46 p.m.: Power has been restored to 3,229 customers in the Fischer-Hallman/Erb area of Waterloo, according to Waterloo North Hydro.
5:34 p.m.: Guelph's Hanlon Parkway has been closed in both directions between Wellington and Stone roads.
5:31 p.m.: Power has been restored to some parts of central Cambridge, but more than 8,000 Energy+ customers remain without power in Cambridge, North Dumfries and Brant County.
5:28 p.m.: Some of the power outages around the Kitchener core have been restored. Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro is still reporting 14,533 properties without power in the city, including 1,882 in the Bridgeport area and about 8,000 in the King East, Mill-Courtland, Southdale and Kingsdale areas. Another outage is affecting more than 3,300 properties in the Heritage Park, Rosemount and Central Frederick neighbourhoods.
5:19 p.m. All City of Kitchener sports fields have been closed for the night due to high winds.
5:18 p.m.: Wyndham street in Guelph has been closed between Quebec and Baker streets, as has Fountain Street between Wyndham and Gordon streets. In both cases, police say it's because of blowing debris. Guelph Hydro says all power has been restored to the city's north end, but expects more power outages to pop up as the evening goes on.
5:16 p.m.: Sharon MacDonald sent us this photo of a large tree being uprooted on Old Carriage Drive in Kitchener.
5:07 p.m.: Guelph police say people should stay inside if possible.
High winds are causing a safety concern as trees, tree limbs are coming down and debris is being blown, stay inside if you can— Guelph Police (@gpsmedia) May 4, 2018
5:06 p.m.: Hydro crews are scrambling to find and fix dozens of outages across our coverage area. As the situation is fluid and fast-moving, it is difficult to tell when power will be restored to any one specific area.
5:03 p.m.: Here’s where we stand for local power outages. Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro has 22 outages affecting 13,500 customers, including several around the downtown Kitchener core and the east end of Kitchener. Most Waterloo North Hydro customers in Wellesley and Woolwich are without power, as are the uptown Waterloo core, the Westvale area and most of the city east of the Conestoga Parkway. Energy+ is reporting outages affecting more than 11,500 customers in Cambridge and more than 2,000 in the Ayr area. Guelph Hydro’s biggest outage is affecting 1,600 customers in the city’s northeast. Hydro One has more than 100 outages on the go in southern Ontario, including large ones around Stratford, Ingersoll and Guelph.
4:59 p.m.: We're hearing reports of many traffic lights being blown off their supports in Kitchener's east end, including this one at King Street East and River Road.
4:55 p.m.: The highest wind gust at Region of Waterloo International Airport this afternoon has hit 122 km/h. Were that to be sustained over a longer period of time, it would be considered hurricane-strength.
4:54 p.m.: Brief power blip in the newsroom! We'll catch up on what we missed shortly.
4:41 p.m.: Nearly 5,000 Waterloo North Hydro customers are without power in northwest Waterloo and Wellesley Township. A separate outage is affecting 972 properties around Floradale and Wallenstein.
4:38 p.m.: Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro is reporting several new outages in Kitchener, including one affecting more than 2,000 properties between the downtown core and the Rockway area. Another just northeast of the downtown core is affecting 1,378 properties.
4:34 p.m.: The wind is still picking up in Waterloo Region. A gust of 97 km/h was just recorded at Region of Waterloo International Airport.
4:31 p.m.: We're hearing many reports of fences and other outdoor structures taken down by the storm and wind.
4:28 p.m.: Stratford police say they are dealing with a number of issues regarding downed trees and power lines.
Wind creating problems in the City. traffic lights out & down in some areas. Downed trees blocking roadways also two calls with power lines down on the go. If out please be careful. Police & City crews working on issues.— Stratford Police Service (@SPSmediaoffice) May 4, 2018
4:26 p.m.: A new power outage is affecting more than 1,200 properties in the uptown Waterloo core, as far north as Waterloo Park and as far west as Westmount Road.
4:23 p.m.: High winds are being blamed for a rollover crash which closed a section of Highway 6 north of Fergus.
4:19 p.m.: Hydro One is reporting approximately 100 separate power outages in southern Ontario, affecting more than 80,000 of its customers. A major new outage in our area is affecting 2,377 properties north of Stratford.
4:16 p.m.: Brantford Power is dealing with a new outage in the city's east end and a small portion of Eagle Place.
4:15 p.m.: Environment Canada has ended its severe thunderstorm watch for Waterloo Region, the Guelph area and Oxford-Brant.
4:11 p.m.: Power has been restored to the Elmira area, according to Waterloo North Hydro.
4:08 p.m.: Waterloo North Hydro says 3,229 customers in the area of Erb Street West and Fischer-Hallman Road are without power.
4:03 p.m.: A new outage is being reported by Hydro One, affeciting 2,941 properties between Guelph and Fergus.
3:58 p.m.: Festival Hydro says it has restored power to all customers in Stratford.
3:57 p.m.: A flood warning has been issued for the Lake Erie shoreline in the Long Point area. The Long Point Region Conservation Authority is expecting wave levels to peak above 2.23 metres before dying down by 10 p.m.
3:55 p.m.: North of Stratford, Perth Line 36 has been clsoed between Road 122 and Road 125 due to downed hydro wires.
3:52 p.m.: More power outages have been reported in Cambridge, including one affecting 3,722 properties in the Galt core, West Galt and Southwood areas. Energy+ is also dealing with outages in North Dumfries and Brant County and says 12,000 of its customers are without power.
3:51 p.m.: Line 26 in West Perth has been closed between Road 179 and Road 180 due to a broken hydro pole hanging over the roadway.
3:49 p.m.: Festival Hydro says it is aware of an outage in Stratford and has crews out searching for the cause.
3:46 p.m.: Waterloo Regional Police are reporting 14 collisions or dangerous conditions across the region, primarily in Cambridge and North Dumfries.
3:43 p.m.: Hydro One says it is responding to more than 60 outages across southern Ontario, affecting more than 30,000 of its customers. Some of the biggest include one affecting 5,500 properties between Dundalk and New Tecumseh, another affecting 2,352 properties in the Drumbo area, and another affecting more than 1,400 properties between New Hamburg and Stratford.
3:36 p.m.: Environment Canada has downgraded Waterloo Region, the Guelph area and Oxford-Brant to a severe thunderstorm watch, as the line of thunderstorms has moved to the east.
3:35 p.m.: Third Line in Guelph/Eramosa has been closed between Highway 7 and Wellington Road 124 due to a fallen tree which has taken out hydro lines.
3:33 p.m.: Energy+ is reporting three large power outages in its territory. The biggest affects 2,849 properties in the Hespeler part of Cambridge. Another sees 2,152 properties in the Ayr area without electricity, while the third affects 870 properties in the northern part of North Dufmries.
3:27 p.m.: Westario Power says it has lost supply to all of its customers in Lucknow, Ripley, Teeswater and Wingham. It is not clear when service will be restored.
3:25 p.m.: Waterloo North Hydro says about 1,800 customers are without power in the Elmira area.
3:05 p.m.: Brantford Power says service has been restored to all customers following a power outage that affected various parts of the city for several hours.
3 p.m.: A severe thunderstorm warning is in place for areas including Waterloo-Wellington and Oxford-Brant. Environment Canada said it was tracking a line of storms moving west-to-east across the province, poised to hit communities including Stratford, Woodstock, Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge.