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Ice Storm 98

January, 1998
Ice Storm, Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, and into the Maritimes

  • January 5 - snow in the morning, turned to freezing rain about 10 a.m. Things were slippery by noon. No indication of what was to come. Freezing rain continued through the night. Power off some locations about midnight.

  • January 6 - trees bending and breaking, some on telephone and electrical wires, some lanes and roads blocked.

  • January 7 - continues. Widespread power outages. Trees breaking. More freezing rain on the way. In the evening, you could see electrical arcs lighting up the night sky.

  • January 8 - electrical wires down, poles broken, tree breakage at its peak. Unsafe outdoors. More road, lanes obstruction. Footing was treacherous. It's now evident that the loss of power will be of long duration. People are helping neighbours. Local state of emergency. Opening of shelters for those needing meals, warmth and companionship.

  • Some of our neighbours were without power for well over two weeks. The longest outages were in the Paden Road / Donnelly Drive areas. Toward the Quebec border, and in Quebec, the outages were much longer.

  • Kudos to community leaders - both business and volunteer, council, military, police, and the great firefighters.

  • We had hydro workers from Ontario Hydro, Nepean Hydro, Toronto, K-Line, Etobicoke and lots of other places. And they really hustled. The whole thing was very costly, and it will take many months to clean up. Particularly affected were businesses, farmers caring for livestock, and those with tree crops. It was a difficult, tiring time, especially for people on their own. You may not want to know this just now, but the beleaguered Ontario Hydro debt before the storm was $31 billion.

 

 

We have received permission from the Fireside Moms to post the following poem from adversity:

 (Poem written at the Community Center on 16 Jan 98 by the "FIRESIDE MOM'S!!" )            
ODE TO THE ICE STORM    

                                           IT STARTED ELEVEN LONG DAYS AGO    
WHEN THE FREEZING RAIN CAME, INSTEAD OF THE SNOW.    

    IT FELL HEAVY ON THE BRANCHES AND TREES,    
CAUSING THEM TO BEND TO THEIR KNEES.    

    OUT WENT THE POWER - AND IN CAME THE COLD    
THE FOOD IN THE FRIDGE, IT STARTED TO MOLD.    

    WE WAITED AND WAITED, AND WAITED SOME MORE,    
AND ALL THE NECESSITIES WE STARTED TO STORE.    

    LONG DAYS TURNED INTO DARK COLD NIGHTS,    
WOULD SOMEONE PLEASE GIVE US SOME LIGHT!    

    NEIGHBOURS HELPING NEIGHBOURS FOR HOURS ON END    
WE ALL BECAME CLOSER AND MADE NEW FRIENDS.    

    THE MEN WOULD NESTLE ALL SNUG IN THEIR BEDS    
BUT VISIONS OF SUMP PUMPS STILL DANCED IN THEIR HEADS.    

    THE FIREFIGHTERS CAME FROM NEAR AND FAR    
PUMPING OUT BASEMENTS AND CHECKING ON FARMS.    

    AND THEN THROUGH THE DARKNESS, A BEACON OF LIGHT    
IT SHONE THROUGH THE DAY AND ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT.    

    WE HAVE A SHELTER - HIP HIP HOORAY!!    
PACK UP THE KIDS, WERE SPENDING THE DAY.    

    THERE'S NANCY AND LARRY WITH PHONES TO THEIR EARS,    
A WELCOMING COMMITTEE ALLAYING ALL FEARS    

    NEED A FLASHLIGHT? A BATTERY? A CUP OF GOOD CHEER?    
WHATEVER YOU NEED IS AVAILABLE HERE    

    AND THEN IN THE DISTANCE - A KHAKI GREEN HAZE    
THE ARMY HAS COME TO BRIGHTEN OUR DAYS    

    THE CHOPPING WENT ON BOTH INSIDE AND OUT.    
BOTH WOOD AND SOUP WERE HANDED OUT.    

    THE TIRELESS KITCHEN STAFF....OH, HOW THEY TOILED,
TO ENSURE THE DONATIONS NEVER WERE SPOILED.    

    THE SUPPLIES KEPT ON COMING, THE CRAFTS AND THE TOYS  
   TO KEEP THE KIDS BUSY AND KEEP DOWN THE NOISE.    

    A WEEK WENT BY AND STILL NO NEWS,  
   OUR PATIENCE AND TEMPERS WE STARTED TO LOSE.    

    AND THEN ON DAY SEVEN A MEETING WAS SET  
   NO ANSWERS WERE GIVEN - WE STARTED TO FRET.    

    BUT STILL THE COMMUNITY - WE STUCK TOGETHER
    WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS - NO MATTER THE WEATHER    

    BUT WE COULDN'T HAVE DONE THIS WITHOUT VOLUNTEERS  
   OUR HATS OFF TO YOU AND A HEARTY THREE CHEERS.    

    TO THE LINEMEN WHO WORKED SO HARD NIGHT AND DAY  
   OUR GRATITUDE IS MORE THAN WE EVER COULD SAY.    

    TO ONTARIO HYDRO WE OWE A HUGE DEBT    
WE'LL BE PAYING FOR YEARS, ON THAT YOU CAN BET!    

    THEN COME NEXT OCTOBER, WE'LL RUE THE DAY
    THAT WE TRIED TO KEEP WARM IN OUR OWN SPECIAL WAY!!    

    AUTHORS:  THE FIRESIDE MOMS    

                      Kathy Kerr             
          Sara Charron                 
      Lynda Steele                     
  Becki and Jane Ghattas

  
trees were down


lines were down


morale? Down!


Prices?
(We know it's just a typo - thought it might get a smile.)

We are pleased to have received permission to post the following message that summarizes the community sentiment in North Gower at the time:
We are one of the lucky families in North Gower who have their power back after 9 days.  We feel for the others still coping with the dark and cold, and have invited people to come and eat, shower or warm up, just as people in other towns have done for us in the last week.  The organization and dedication of the volunteers, Fire Department, political people, and individuals is outstanding.  I think that anyone who needed help would certainly receive whatever they needed, very quickly.  I am also very impressed with the swift and effective organization of the Region's Emergency Plan, and the setup of the shelter in North Gower.
We must be a model for how a community should come together to help each other.  I hope that everyone's life is back to normal as fast as possible.
Caroline Harris and George Banaszkiewicz
A message from a Hydro guy
> ...I was in Winchester for 14 days and just returned on Sunday night. Got to know North, South Gower, Oxford, Osgoode, Russell, Cambridge, Finch, Winchester Townships very well. The real "thanks" goes to our customers without power for so long. Your patience, fortitude, understanding and spirit through this was absolutely remarkable! Jerry Crown