Windsor residents tell of trees and power lines downed in the storm

The City of Windsor said it had received more than 200 calls to the 311 customer contact center about tree damage.  (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC - photo credit)

The City of Windsor said it had received more than 200 calls to the 311 customer contact center about tree damage. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC – photo credit)

Around 20,000 customers are still without power in the Chatham, Kent and Essex areas due to the ice storm that raged through the area on Wednesday.

Tiziana Baccega Rosa, spokeswoman for Hydro One, said the number will hopefully decrease as the evening progresses.

“There are still plenty of daylight hours but we know there will be customers without power in the Essex, Kent and Aylmer area,” said Rosa. “We have all hands we can to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”

She said Hydro One has already provided electricity to 25,000 customers thanks to the small army of Hydro One employees and contractors from elsewhere in the province unaffected by the storm.

In Essex, Mayor Sherry Bondy said the clean-up effort is hard work and the people who work around the clock deserve a lot of credit.

“It’s really bad. I met with city officials today to assess it and create a plan for the cleanup,” Bondy said. “At the moment we are still in emergency mode. You know, our city workers have been working with the fire department and with ELK Energy to make sure our streets are safe and people know how to work around the downed wires. So that’s step one. Step two is the evaluation and cleanup. It’s really bad in all parts of our community.”

As clean-up efforts and power restoration continue, the mayor said residents’ big concern is how to keep warm.

Jennifer LaGrassa/CBC

Jennifer LaGrassa/CBC

Bondy and Rosa suggest making the best decision for you and your family when it comes to traveling warm, be it with friends and family or a warm-up stop in Kingsville or Tilbury Arena. And if the dwellers are traveling for warmth or food, be careful.

“Make sure you know where to park and where to get out of your car,” Bondy said. “Knots are still falling. You can hear the crackling, branches are still falling, chunks of ice are still falling. And of course, stay away from those fall lines. Almost every street in the community now has a tree. Everyone is doing their best.”

“We heard a bang”

The ice storm has also downed trees and cut power to thousands in Windsor.

“One night we heard a noise,” said homeowner Marisol Lopez.

“The power supply was fine after that. The internet was fine. There were some crashes, such as

Sadie Cartwright, a student at St Clair College, lost her power around 7 p.m. Wednesday while she was preparing for a test, she said.

“I set my alarm [but] my phone broke,” she said, “so I woke up at 8:40 am. I basically walked here at nine for my exam. When I got here I saw the huge branch just down the road. … I suppose the one who took the power from us.”

Student Umer Farooz also had a test Thursday morning and was unable to study or do homework due to power outages.

“It was tough,” he said.

CLOCK | Windsor’s night sky lights up during the ice storm:

The combination of freezing rain and winds up to 25 miles per hour caused the most damage Enwin Utilities has faced in 20 years, said Jim Brown, the company’s vice president of hydro operations.

“We fought all night,” he said. “We would have feeders cleared, turn power back on and then wait 20 minutes [or] An hour later another tree would come across the line. We need to go outside and try to figure out where that is and clear it out and turn it back on. It was, and it’s still a struggle.

According to a company spokesman, more than 25,000 Enwin customers experienced storm-related outages.

As of 4 p.m., around 2,100 are still groping in the dark, many of them in South Walkerville and the university area.

The main cause of the outages were branches and trees falling over power lines due to the weight of the ice buildup, an Enwin spokesman said in a statement.

According to a city press release, the city’s forestry department has responded to calls about tree damage across the city.

“Numerous” calls about power line downs

As of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, the 311 customer contact center had received more than 200 calls, it said.

The Windsor Fire Service has also been handling “numerous” calls about downed power lines, Chief Fire Prevention Officer Mike Coste said.

“To say we were busy last night is an understatement,” Coste said, adding that branches continued to fall and cause additional damage.

Essex Powerlines restored power to customers in LaSalle only to report a new outage Thursday afternoon that affected nearly 3,000 people in Leamington. It is also still trying to restore power to about 600 homes in the Amherstburg area, according to the company’s website.



According to the community’s Facebook page, Leamington’s public works crews were out all night clearing fallen trees and branches from sidewalks and roads and are continuing the cleanup Thursday.

Hydro One is reporting dozens of outages scattered across Essex County and Chatham-Kent.

ELK Energy said on its website that it is also working to fix several outages in its service area, which includes Essex, Lakeshore and Kingsville.

Lakeside Town Hall closed

The Lakeshore community has closed Lakeshore Town Hall due to ongoing phone and power outages.

The Atlas Tube Recreation Center remains open to the public. However, the municipality said intermittent phone outages are affecting both incoming and outgoing calls.

The Greater Essex County School Board announced Thursday morning that most elementary schools in the county will hold kindergarten open houses Thursday evenings starting at 5 p.m

However, it is postponing events at 10 schools hit by power outages. These schools are:

  • Essex Public School

  • Kingsville Public School

  • Colchester North Public School

  • Lakeshore Discovery School

  • Harrow public school

  • Jack Miner Public School

  • Malden Central Public School

  • East Mersea Public School

  • Northwood Public School

  • Belle River Public School

These kindergarten days will now take place on Thursday, March 2nd.

The Windsor-Essex County School Board closed 11 schools Thursday due to power outages. The school board of the Catholic district of Windsor-Essex meanwhile reported seven school closures.

The airport advises travelers to confirm their flight status with their respective airlines.

The Essex Region Conservation Agency (ERCA), meanwhile, has urged people not to use nature reserves and footpaths until the ice has melted.

“The weight of this ice on branches can cause even healthy trees to fall over,” Kevin Money, ERCA’s director of conservation services, said in a statement

Once the ice has melted, guests who spot fallen trees blocking trails can report it to ERCA’s ParkWatch hotline by calling 519-971-2813 or emailing [email protected], the said Organization.


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