By Sue Tiffin
After Saturday’s storm, some residents of Haliburton County began their week without power.
According to Hydro One, damage is severe and power outages extensive after a massive wind storm swept through the province beginning Saturday afternoon and ending into the night.
“On Saturday, we saw an extreme wind storm come into the province, and that wind stayed out throughout the night, so over 100 kilometres per hour winds,” said Richard Francella, Hydro One spokesperson, who spoke to the Echo on Sunday evening. “This is one of the worst wind storms we’ve seen in recent years. As a result of the extreme winds we’ve seen the winds knock power off to more than 450,000 customers across the province.”
While the most recent storm that was comparable was in 2018, Francella said, damage is still being discovered.
“Our crews are still in areas looking at damage, assessing it, seeing how they can restore power.”
About 24 hours after the winds began, 335,000 people have had power restored, while 115,000 customers remained without power.
“We have deployed all available resources,” said Francella. “We have additional crews from other areas that weren’t impacted as badly, to come in and assist. Our crews are out there in full force right now, making those repairs, because we’re seeing approximately 3,500 active outages.”
In the central region, which includes Haliburton County, 50,000 customers were without power on Sunday evening.
“We’re seeing a lot of smaller outages in harder-to-reach areas so we’re using helicopters and off-road equipment to assess the damage and to make those repairs, but what we are seeing in terms of the damage, it’s really extensive and it’s quite severe,” said Francella. “We’re seeing broken poles, we’re seeing fallen trees, we’re seeing downed power lines, so it’s really important that customers stay safe and stay beyond the 10 metres of power lines. Through this damage we do anticipate some customers to be without power for the remainder of the day, and some customers could be without power beyond Monday as well.”
As for customers wondering when their area might see power again, Hydro One’s power outage storm centre map shows areas in Haliburton County with hundreds of customers and areas with fewer customers – Francella said that the areas with higher numbers of customers could see their power on first.
“We prioritize getting lights back on to the greatest number of customers in the shortest period,” he said.