The Great Christmas Ice Storm inToronto

Weighted trees with ice, causing havock to all the power lines:

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It is now 3pm EST and this is the first sign of power since yesterday’s 10 minute gift. We have been stranded with no power since Saturday night. It’s been very cold in our homes and I am grateful that I had tins of salmon and tuna in my cupboard along with cereal for sustenance. I am posting this article I wrote yesterday while I still have power at the moment. Below you will also find a link to the newscast regarding the carnage of this storm.

God Bless you all and wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and happiness and health in the coming year!

http://www.cp24.com/video?clipId=68596&binId=1.1127680&playlistPageNum=1

They had been calling for it all week! After getting a wallop of snow last weekend here in Toronto and weather-wise being a very frosty week, there were warnings that we were in for a weekend of freezing rain. I hadn’t really paid it any heed; after all, this is Toronto, and it’s winter. So undoubtedly we would be getting our share of precipitation.

Saturday was an icy day, freezing rain, slick roads and frankly, not the best day for last minute Christmas shoppers. I was quite happy to be home writing in my flannel p.j.’s with the fireplace on. I decided not to work on Saturday night and snuggle up under a blanket on the couch and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. That was working out nicely until the power went out.  Although the power did manage to come back on intermittently through the evening, by midnight the lights were flickering non-stop so I took it as a sign to head up to bed and read on my kindle.

When I woke this morning, there was no power. What? No computer? No Sunday Football? NO COFFEE? I NEED MY COFFEE! I turned on my cell phone to check my email and found that I was unable to send any.:) Our son-in-law who lives blocks away called on my cell to update us as to what was going on in the outside world. Truthfully, I hadn’t even looked outside at that point because it was winter so what did I expect to find different? Our son-in-law offered to come over and help chop off the layers of ice on our walk and driveway. He said he had been to Tim Horton’s to get his family coffee and breakfast already and just after he got his order they had to close down. Previously he had gone to the gas station to fill up his car and scathed that as well. There was a huge line up there and shortly after his visit, all the pumps were closed down. He had heard on the car radio that many transformers were blown in the city from the rain freezing on the wires. They are saying we may not have power until Christmas!  A quarter of a million homes without heat and power and I am one of them.

I WANT COFFEE! I decided to brave the ice and the cold and I went out in the knee-deep snow filled backyard so I could turn on the bbq to boil some water. Layered up with boots, coat, gloves and scarf, I found myself having to stomp very hard with my every step to break the ice layers that had formed atop the snow. When I approached the bbq which my husband had so meticulously wrapped with it’s cover, laden with bricks atop so the winter would not blow it away, I began chiseling about 4 inches of ice which had formed on top of and around the full-length cover. It was as stiff as a brick wall. I kicked it continuously to shatter the ice and continued chiseling for about ten more minutes. THAT COVER WASN’T COMING OFF UNTIL NEXT SPRING!

Before coming back inside, I turned around to have a look at the extent of the ice formulation in my garden.  I couldn’t believe my once bare leafed trees after autumn’s departure now weighted down by icicle branches. The pictures below should give you an indication as to the conditions just by seeing how the branches had sustained the falling rain and being frozen instantly in mid air.

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So I have resolved myself to no coffee and a bowl of cereal and I am declaring this a writing day.  I am grateful that I had gotten the flashlights and candles ready last night as well as charged my laptop’s back-up battery. I cannot connect to the outside world on the computer but I have a lot of publications stored I can read and catch up on and right now I am topping up the charge to my cell phone on it as well.

2pm – The lights came on for a brief interlude. I thought the media was over-hyping the outage and within 20 minutes my exhilaration was short-lived. I am writing now at 7pm by candlelight. Instead of my lovely seabass dinner, I shall be dining on a can of salmon and some crackers. As I wrote the afternoon away, I waited and waited to go take a shower and blow dry my hair, but I finally succumbed to a candle lit shower as the dark was fast approaching. In the excitement of my big power reprieve at 2pm I had stuck in a load of laundry, which still remains soaking in suds 20 minutes into the cycle, hours ago. I am currently typing this as a word document so it’s ready to transfer onto my blog at the next sign of power.

Perhaps the media got it right – no power until Christmas? One quarter of a million people here without power! They are calling for the temps to drop to minus 18 on Tuesday. I sparingly went on my cell phone to get a news update on the situation and was disheartened to learn there is no news, no resolve as of yet. They are calling this the worst ice storm to ever hit Toronto.

Today, now it is 3pm EST I am posting this as I just got power! A Christmas blessing after having to leave my home this morning in search of warmth and coffee and a car charger, I am happy to be here back to my cyber world. We often take things for granted because they are always there, but let us be aware of the tender mercies we receive every day and please pray for the 200,000 others who are without heat and electricity at this special time of year. Many won’t have power until the weekend.

Besides the many stranded travelers who are trying to get to their loved ones for Christmas and the many last minute shoppers who are out of luck until this passes, the question remains….Will anyone be getting a nice cooked turkey dinner for Christmas?

Happy Holidays to you all!