Remembering the December 20-23, 2013 Ice Storm: Snapshots in History
December is a good time to reflect back upon the 2013 North American Ice Storm that plagued much of central and eastern Canada, parts of the Central Great Plains and the northeastern United States from December 20-23, 2013 with large amounts of freezing rain and snow that damaged electrical power transmission capability as well as much of the tree canopy. In Ontario, over 600,000 customers were without electrical power at the height of the storm. In the case of Toronto, over 300,000 Toronto Hydro customers were lacking electrical power or heat at the storm’s zenith. The City of Toronto responded with temporary community reception centres as well as Toronto Police Service facility community warming centres to offer people without electricity and heat a place at which to eat and sleep. By December 24, 2013, almost 70,000 Toronto Hydro customers were still without electrical power will 1,000 people spending Christmas Eve 2013 in the warming centres. Crews from Hydro One, Manitoba Hydro, and other electrical utilities assisted Toronto Hydro crews in connecting up the remaining 6,000 customers still without electrical power on December 29, 2013. Regrettably, at least 27 deaths were as a result of the storm, particularly from carbon monoxide poisoning in enclosed and not well ventilated areas as people attempted to keep warm and cook with gas generators and charcoal stoves.
When looking back to remember the ice storm of 2013, consider the following title for borrowing from Toronto Public Library collections:
This book visually captures the effects of a devastating ice storm that brought power outages to central and eastern Ontario, parts of southern Québec, and New Brunswick. 40% of power transmission lines in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) were affected on account of the 2013 ice storm, while more than 20% of the City of Toronto’s tree canopy was destroyed. Transportation chaos reigned with the airlines, on trains, on the roads, and with public transit. A new challenge emerged in the aftermath with the cost and logistics of the storm clean-up and repair.
(A portion of the downed tree canopy somewhere in Toronto, December 2013 – Photograph and Copyright © by Shelley Savor – Permission was given to use this photograph.)
Let us not forgot about the North American ice storm of January 1998 and its devastating effect upon the power grid and people’s lives in eastern Ontario, southern Québec, parts of the Maritimes and the northeastern United States. Consider the following title for comparative purposes from Toronto Public Library collections:
Up to 100 millimetres of freezing rain fell over five days in sections of eastern Canada and the northeastern United States in early January 1998. Over five million people living in two million homes languished in the cold darkness of winter without power for up to a month in some instances. Various newspapers in eastern Ontario and southern Québec collaborated on producing this book.
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Please consider viewing the following blog posts on weather-related local history topics: