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Winter weather blasts Central, Atlantic Canada – Canada – CBC News

Winter weather blasts Central, Atlantic Canada – Canada – CBC News.

Snow plows prepare to clear slushy streets in Toronto on Monday as forecasters warn freezing rain will turn roads in much of Southern Ontario into ice paths. Snow plows prepare to clear slushy streets in Toronto on Monday as forecasters warn freezing rain will turn roads in much of Southern Ontario into ice paths. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

Prairies deep freeze

Prairies deep freeze 2:33

Newfoundland power update

Newfoundland power update1:24

Storm hits Atlantic Canada

Storm hits Atlantic Canada2:18

 

 

The relentless weather is causing misery this morning across much of Canada, with southern Ontario hit with freezing rain, wind-chill warnings in some parts of the Prairies and 30,000 Newfoundlanders still in the dark after a mass power outage on the weekend.

 

 

In Ontario, parts of the province were hit with massive snowfalls, while other areas, including the Toronto region, were pelted with snow and freezing rain.

 

CANADA/Both drivers and pedestrians in Toronto are being urged to be aware of a possible flash-freeze in time for Monday’s rush hour. (Devaan Ingraham/Reuters)

“In southern Ontario, that temperature is starting to drop and quickly,” CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said Monday morning. “That slushy mix on the roads is icing up quickly.”

Both drivers and pedestrians are urged to be aware of a possible flash freeze during the morning commute. A flash-freeze warning comes when a steep temperature drop causes water from rain or melted snow to quickly freeze.

The weather wreaked havoc at Pearson International Airport in Toronto on Monday morning, with hundreds of flights cancelled or delayed. Both Air Canada and WestJet advised customers to check their flight status before heading to the airport.

Due to weather, please check with your airline for delays or cancellations and give yourself extra time to get to the airport safely.

— Toronto Pearson (@TorontoPearson) January 6, 2014

“I wasn’t five minutes here at the airport before people started telling me horror stories of being stuck on an airplane for hours on end,” CBC reporter Linda Ward said from the airport.

“Passengers are telling me their planes just couldn’t get to the gate because of so many cancelled planes, so it’s definitely a very frustrating scene here this morning … The people who were on those planes [are] very angry, very tired, very hungry … They say all in all this was just a horrible travel experience.”

Environment Canada extended wind-chill and flash freeze warnings for the Toronto area on Monday morning, warning temperatures will feel as cold as –35 C to –40 C Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

A mix of snow and rain in Toronto, and snow further north, produced hundreds of accidents on the roads and highways Sunday evening, including one crash in Brampton that left one man dead.

Local school boards warned parents to check online Monday morning to see if any schools cancelled classes for the day. The Toronto Catholic District School Board said it would release a decision by 6 a.m. ET and the Toronto District School Board warned of potential closures.

Much of Quebec was also facing adverse weather warnings Monday morning. Environment Canada issued winter storm, freezing rain and wind warnings for most of the province.

Storm wallops Atlantic Canada

The winter weather blast also left much of Atlantic Canada under weather advisories.

  • Police advise motorists, including all officers, to stay off the roads as dangerous whiteout conditions brought on by snow and wind continue to lash much of Atlantic Canada. Here, a pedestrian in Halifax braves the blizzard.
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“Atlantic Canada is a real mess … where I see the risk of freezing rain continuing this morning as a warm front pushes north,” Scotland said.

“For much of the Maritimes, this will switch over to rain through the morning and early afternoon … and further east warnings are out for Newfoundland who deal with this mess tonight through tomorrow — gusty wind, freezing rain and heavy rain.”

Environment Canada issued freezing rain warnings for most of New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Nova Scotia was under freezing rain and rainfall warnings, while Newfoundland was under freezing rain, blizzard and wind warnings.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, about 30,000 Newfoundland Power customers were still without electricity Monday morning after a power plant went offline in the latest power problem to hit the province in recent days.

Residents and businesses throughout the province were told to conserve energy as the province grapples with rolling power outages.

As generation becomes avail. from @nlhydro we are continuing to add customers. Conservation is still extremely important. #darknl

— Newfoundland Power (@NFPower) January 6, 2014

Aging infrastructure, a terminal station fire and a blizzard that ripped through the province Friday night combined to overburden an already stretched electricity grid, according to Premier Kathy Dunderdale.

At the peak of the power outages Saturday morning, about 190,000 customers were in the dark, Newfoundland Power said.

Prairie deep freeze

Meanwhile, much of Saskatchewan and Manitoba are under extreme wind chill warnings, where residents are facing temperatures that feel as cold as –40 C with wind chill.

“To the east, wind chill warnings are out from Hanna in eastern Alberta through southern Saskatchewan [and] Manitoba,” Scotland said.

“Across this warned area, current temps are well into the – 30s C with wind chills well into the – 40s.”

The potentially record-low temperatures are heightening fears of frostbite and hypothermia.

“Persons in or near this area should be on the lookout for adverse weather conditions and take necessary safety precautions,” warns Environment Canada.

Ice storm aftermath: warm weather brings more outages – Canada – CBC News

Ice storm aftermath: warm weather brings more outages – Canada – CBC News.

Rob Ford on ice storm efforts

Rob Ford on ice storm efforts 9:13

What 7 days without power is like

What 7 days without power is like 3:58

Tens of thousands still in the dark in Ontario

Tens of thousands still in the dark in Ontario 3:36

The little generator that could

The little generator that could2:11

About 30,000 customers in Ontario and New Brunswick remain in the dark one week after a major ice storm blanketed Central and Atlantic Canada, and warming temperatures have caused new power outages in Toronto.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines said early Saturday that melting ice falling from trees and other structures has led to fresh damage. At about 1 a.m. ET the number of customers without power had dropped below 20,000 for the first time, but by 8 a.m. it was back up to around 23,000. The number is hovering at 18,000 as of mid-afternoon Saturday.

“Over the morning hours we’ve been moving backwards, but I’m sure our crews will attend to those and we’ll start moving in the right direction again over the next couple of hours,” he told CBC News Network.

Calling it a “story of ups and downs,” Haines pointed out that  the current tally — 18,000 — is about the same number that crews have been bringing power to each day.

The falling ice caused at least one injury when a Hamilton worker was struck in the head, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said. Officials couldn’t provide an update on the worker’s condition.

“This is Day 7 and there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Ford in an interview with CBC News midday Saturday.  “What that day is, I can not tell you…We’re trying our best.”

CANADA/About 25,000 customers in Ontario are still without power on Saturday morning. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

In response to the backlash the mayor and other officials have received from people still without power, Ford said “it tears my heart out.”

“We have crews from Ottawa, we have crews from Windsor,” he said.  “I share their frustration…it’s all hands on deck [and] we are moving as fast as we can.”

Haines said computer simulations have shown three days, but that there are variables at work like the new outages and the arrival of more crews. The provincial utility, Hydro One, said the outages outside Toronto are largely over, which has allowed it to send crews in to help the city.

“I’m hopeful certainly by the early part of next week the vast majority of customers will be back,” Haines said.

Working around the clock

Haines, who noted that the average Toronto Hydro customer is equivalent to 2½ people, said he sympathizes with people.

“What we can do is work around the clock and we can bring extra resources in from far and wide … we will not stop until the power is on for everybody,” he said.

  • Toronto Hydro says it is receiving assistance from a number of other utilities, including Hydro Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie PUC, Enwin (Windsor) and Manitoba Hydro.
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Haines and Toronto Community Housing CEO Gene Jones (who is still dealing with outages in about 80 housing units) said they will perform a postmortem after the outages are over to see what they might do better next time.

Haines stressed the enormous scope of the damage:

  • Forty per cent of the city’s power lines, which would cross Canada twice, have been affected by the storm.
  • Thirty-thousand pieces of equipment have been installed back into the grid and about 47,000 metres of cable have gone back up into the air.
  • The City of Toronto says about 20 per cent of the city’s tree canopy has been damaged and it could take seven weeks to clean up all the fallen limbs, Haines said.

Amid the rising anger and frustration of those still in the dark, utility companies are pleading for patience, saying crews are working around the clock and nothing else can be done to speed up the process.

That’s little consolation for people who have been in the dark for a week, including Carmen Andronesu, who is one of more than 1,000 residents who live in a condo complex in Toronto’s north end.

“No matter how much you try calling here and there, it’s like you cannot find help from anywhere,” she said.

Wynne promises help for food spoilage

In a morning news conference, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said the concern she’s heard most around the province is spoiled food. She said she’s looking at providing help and would offer details over the next couple of days when a plan had been confirmed.

“We’ve reached out to food suppliers to try to come up with a way of compensating people and getting some extra food — or food vouchers, something to folks, so that’s what we’re working out over the next couple of days,” she said.

Ford said Toronto won’t be looking into any sort of compensation until the power has been restored.

“I can’t give any numbers or any assurances that we can reimburse anyone,” Ford said.

11,000 without power in N.B.

About 11,000 customers in New Brunswick are also struggling through a long power outage, mostly in St. Stephen and the Saint John area.

Some people won’t have their power restored until the new year, according to a tweet from NB Power on Saturday. Gaetan Thomas, the utility’s CEO, said extra crews are being brought in from Quebec tonight, which means more than 200 crews will be working in the province to restore electricity.

Thomas said another large storm, forecast for tomorrow, will also hinder their efforts as it brings freezing rain and snow.

In the rural southern New Brunswick community of Titusville, people without power have been heading to the generator-powered general store to buy kerosene, propane, candles and water.

Owner Mark Carline said the storm and outage has caused him to reflect.

“I think we were all reminded and humbled by the fact that at any given time we could be set back to this state, where we’re scrambling [to get] the basic necessities.”

In Quebec, the outages are almost over: Hydro-Québec tweeted late Friday night that they were “almost there” with only about 400 customers left who needed power restored.

 

Ontario storms cause widespread power outages – Canada – CBC News

Ontario storms cause widespread power outages – Canada – CBC News.

Hydro One crews are on scene after severe storms uprooted a tree in Toronto. The tree fell on two vehicles.Hydro One crews are on scene after severe storms uprooted a tree in Toronto. The tree fell on two vehicles. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

A line of severe storms swept across southern and eastern Ontario Sunday night, bringing heavy rain and winds gusting to 90 km/h.

Hydro One says at the height of the storm the power was knocked out to well over 100,000 homes and businesses between Windsor and the Kingston area.

The power was back on for some by 6 a.m., but through the early morning some 86,000 Hydro One customers were still without power.

High winds responsible for outages across the province. Crews working to restore power to those affected.

— Hydro One (@HydroOne) November 18, 2013

In the Greater Toronto Area some 70,000 customers were left in the dark, and another 24,000 in London. Crews worked through the night to get the lights back on, though by early morning “small pockets” of Toronto were still without power according to Toronto Hydro.

We’re experiencing outages in a few small pockets as a result of winds. Approx. 150 customers affected. Hope to have all restored by 6 a.m.

— Toronto Hydro (@TorontoHydro) November 18, 2013

The weather system roared into Ontario after punishing the American Midwest with tornadoes and thunderstorms that left at least six dead in Illinois.

In the central Illinois town of Washington, a twister obliterated entire neighbourhoods, flipping vehicles, uprooting trees, and ripping down power lines.

The storms also caused damage in Kentucky, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan.

Blackout: The Layered Approach to Coping | project chesapeake

Blackout: The Layered Approach to Coping | project chesapeake. (source)

By: Tom Chatham

The electrification of the nation and to a larger degree the technology now seen as a necessary part of American life, are the Achilles heel of life in this country today. From cooking to sanitation to transportation to communication, most Americans can no longer do even menial day to day tasks without some kind of electrically powered equipment. We have come to rely on technology more and more as a crutch rather than a lever.

We have been blessed as a society to have tools that can multiply our strengths while covering up our weaknesses. When technology fails on a monumental scale, those strengths disappear and our weaknesses are laid bare before us. When this happens we must cope with it one way or another. Society has become so fragile today that the coping mechanism of most people is a distant memory relegated to our forefathers who could convert a four legged creature into their next meal.

Coping is a matter of knowledge and equipment. The more of both that you have in a situation, the more coping ability you will have. Ever wonder why a soldier heading off to war is so cocky? Knowledge and equipment. If you have good equipment and know how to use it your confidence is through the roof when something happens. It gives you the sense of control you need to overcome obstacles. Of the two, knowledge is by far the most important item to have. You may not have any equipment but if you need to start a fire and know 10 ways to do it without matches, you will eventually find what you need to make it happen. Knowing what to look for is the key to overcoming that obstacle.

When the power disappears and you are left with a room full of electronic paperweights, you need to have the knowledge and equipment to move to the next level of sustainability to cope with the problem. On one end of the spectrum you have full service, full bore idiot proof electrification to do most of your thinking for you. On the other end of the spectrum you have the clothes on your back and the mush between your ears with the power of a small appliance bulb. Knowledge turns that small appliance bulb into a finely tuned laser capable of destroying any obstacle. With the proper knowledge and equipment you can maintain your sustainability near the upper end of the spectrum no matter how bad it gets.

There are different levels to preparing for loss of power. It can go from a temporary loss for a few hours to total loss of all electrical equipment for years. The greater the problem is the lower down the levels you will go making sustainability more challenging. The following levels will deal mainly with power concerns so only brief mention will be given to food, water, sanitation and security concerns. FEMA recommends that every home have a two week supply of food and water. That should be a minimum.

Level one – normal operations with full access to electrical devices and power

Level two- disruption of power systems for less than 24 hours

Level three- loss of power systems up to two weeks

Level four- loss of power systems for two weeks or longer

Level five- catastrophic destruction of power systems and some electrical devices

Level six- catastrophic destruction of power systems globally along with most or all electrical devices

Level one- All systems are functional and nothing out of the ordinary is experienced. All creature comforts are available and accessible.

Level two- Power disruptions are experienced for any of a number of reasons. The power outage will require some alternate systems to be employed to maintain normalcy. Refrigeration will cease so units should remain closed to prevent frozen foods from defrosting. Alternative power systems may include generators, power inverters or alternate energy systems to maintain limited power requirements although for this level no power is likely necessary given the short duration. This level is a survivable event even without preparations except for individuals that require medical devices for lifecare which must be addressed. As a minimum, flashlights, portable radios, candles and matches/lighters should be kept. Foods such as dry cereal, power bars and fresh produce will be sufficient to maintain most people until power returns. Bottled water, fruit juice and sodas will provide sufficient hydration under most circumstances until power returns. The security situation should be relatively normal in most cases.

Level Two

Flashlights
Extra batteries
Portable radio
Candles
Matches/lighters
Fire extinguisher 5 lb.
1st aid kit

Level Three- After the initial 24 hrs. power disruptions will start to have serious consequences for society. Refrigerated foods that are not eaten risk spoilage. People will begin to suffer from dehydration as water supplies disappear. After 72 hrs. the security situation will degrade sufficiently in urban areas to become a threat. At this level an alternative energy source is necessary to maintain living standards at acceptable levels. A generator can be utilized to maintain refrigeration and charge batteries. Generators only provide power when running and they use a lot of fuel when run continuously so to make the best use of small fuel supplies a generator should only be run a few hours in the morning and in the late afternoon to maintain refrigeration, charge batteries and cook food. The remainder of the time a power inverter/battery pack can provide limited power for CF lights and communications to keep informed. This system will provide you with power 24/7 while using the least amount of fuel which will likely be difficult to find. To conserve power, camping equipment can fill some needs such as propane for cooking and lighting. A pressure cooker can also reduce power usage by allowing some foods to be cooked much faster. Sanitation during this time will become more difficult. Urban systems will require a portable system to be used while independent septic systems will only require a supply of water to continue functioning. For apartment dwellers, a battery/inverter system recharged with a vehicle may be the most viable system for electrical power while using propane for cooking. A two week food and water supply would get you through this level.

Level Three

All level two items plus

Generator
Fuel – 5 gal. to 50 gal. depending on duration
3,000w power inverter
Deep cycle batteries
HD Extension cords
Sanitation, town system – portable toilet and waste storage means. Water to bathe
Sanitation, septic system – water supply to flush and bathe, 5 gal./person/day
Heat source to cook – Camp stove, grill, hot plate
Propane – for stove/grill 1 lb. per day
Water storage – drinking/cooking/sanitation
Manual can opener
CF bulbs
Water filter
Pressure cooker 4 qt.
1st aid kit
Defense weapon and ammo

Level Four – If this level is reached it is assumed that food and water supplies are not being transported so it is no longer viable to stay in an urban area and relocation to a less populated area is likely necessary. Without power a sustainable situation will require resources and space that are only possible in suburban or rural areas. This level can last months or even years depending on the situation. Because the duration will not be known at the time, it must be assumed at this point that the situation will continue for some time and a sustainable system of power and supply must be utilized. Renewable energy systems and food production will be a core necessity of this level. Propane appliances would be beneficial especially for refrigeration.

Level Four

All items in level three plus

Fuel Storage – 500 gal.
Propane – 400 lbs.+
Solar Panels – 1kw +
Additional deep cycle batteries
Wind turbine – 500w +
Wood gassifier system
Wood stove -Alternate source of heating/cooking
Tools – Chainsaw w/maintenance eq. & oil, ax, wood saw
Source of wood
Seeds
Garden tools
Canning supplies
Pressure cooker 21 qt.
Source of water / rain catchment system
Hunting weapon and ammo
Fishing supplies
Salt – 100 lbs +
Medical supplies

Level Five – This situation will likely result from an EMP/CME of limited duration and scope. In this instance some devices may still work if power is available so alternate sustainable systems must be utilized. Destruction of major components may impede recovery for many months making self sufficiency a key to survival. The difference between levels four and five are that a level five situation would likely disable or destroy electrical equipment that would be difficult to replace short term. In level four this equipment is still usable if the necessary power can be found to run it.

Level Five

Generator- inside a faraday cage for storage
Wood gassifier system
Tools – ax, wood saw
Solar panels/wind turbine/hydropower
Deep cycle batteries
Woodstove – heating and cooking
Canning supplies
Seeds
Garden tools
Pressure cooker 21 qt.
Source of water / rain catchment system
Candles
Matches/lighters
Fire extinguisher 5 lb.
Hunting weapon and ammo
Fishing supplies
Salt 100 lbs. +
Misc. medical supplies w/antibiotics
Mountain bike
Tube type radio – DC power

Level Six – This level would be the result of severe space weather or earth changes that cause catastrophic damage to electrical components worldwide. The damage to electrical equipment would be complete making recovery of technology a long and difficult process. With technology destroyed, sustainable systems from the past would have to be revived to provide the necessities of society. This is the worst case scenario. Alternative mechanical systems would be needed to rebuild the technology base. Computer chips are the pinnacle of our technology and the production of them requires several layers of technology to produce unlike the casting and assembly of things such as an engine.

Level Six

Wood cookstove
Tools – ax, wood saw, files
Canning supplies
Seeds
Garden tools
Pressure cooker 21 qt.
Source of water / rain catchment system
Water filter
Candles
Matches/lighters/flint
Fire extinguisher 2 – 5 lb.
Hunting weapon and ammo
Fishing supplies
Salt 100 lbs. +
Misc. medical supplies w/antibiotics
Mountain bike w/repair parts
Grain mill
Blacksmithing tools
Spinning wheel
Floor loom
Mechanical clock
Gramophone w/vinyl records
Typewriter w/extra ribbons
Slide rule
Gas appliances – refrigeration, heating, cooking, hot water, lighting
Bio-gas production unit
Steam engine – machine power
Hydro systems – machine power

While this listing is not exhaustive, it provides a window into the various levels a person will encounter over different time spans and situations. Some forethought about your particular living situation will allow you to devise a plan that will allow the least amount of deprivation during the situation you encounter. The time to prepare is before the lights go out. Once it happens it is too late. When this happens, the lack of resources will make your well being entirely dependant on the knowledge you carry. In this instance, knowing what to do if you are caught without resources will allow you to react quickly and decisively in the first few critical hours of an event.

A brief look at the various levels of potential blackout will help you determine what resources are best suited to your particular circumstances. Every plan needs to be tailored to individual needs and expectations. In a level six situation, most of the equipment to repair the technology base will be destroyed so antiquated technology systems will be essential to long term recovery. Since most of this old technology is no longer common knowledge, the storage of this knowledge is necessary outside of the technology systems for later retrieval. This can also be said for any necessary knowledge during short term situations as well.

In November 2003 NASA detected a CME that they later determined to be at the X28+ level. Fortunately this was not directed toward Earth. If it had interacted with Earth we would be living in a very different world today. In 2005 an X17 was recorded and in 2006 an X9 was recorded just to give an idea of how often and extreme these occurrences are. You must decide what level you should prepare for and seek the means to overcome the situation. When you prepare for the worst case scenario, you will be well prepared for almost any contingency and anything less should be easily handled, but that level of preparedness is a personal choice.

Coping with the loss of technology is a personal responsibility that cannot be farmed out to others. When the unexpected happens it is the responsibility of the head of the household to continue to care for their family no matter what situation they find themselves in. It is always good to have outside help when the unexpected happens but to rely solely on others in these circumstances is to put your family at great potential unnecessary risk.

 

Syrian capital blacked out after blasts – Middle East – Al Jazeera English

Syrian capital blacked out after blasts – Middle East – Al Jazeera English. (source)

The Syrian capital Damascus was hit by a power cut late on Wednesday, shortly after an explosion near the international airport, residents said.

“The whole city just went dark,” said a resident who lives in the centre of the city and asked to remain anonymous.

An AFP journalist in Damascus said he could see from a distance a huge fire blazing near Damascus International Airport, which is located near the affected power station.

A Damascus resident told Al Jazeera on Thursday morning that power had been restored in most of the capital.

State news agency SANA quoted Electricity Minister Imad Khamis as saying that electricity in “all provinces” had been cut off due to “a terrorist attack on the gas pipeline feeding the electricity generating stations in the southern region.”

“A terrorist attack on a gas pipeline that feeds a power station in the south has led to a power outage in the provinces, and work to repair it is in progress,” Emad Khamis said on Wednesday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based group that reports on abuses and battlefield developments using sources from both sides of Syria’s civil war, said the explosion was caused by rebel artillery that hit a gas pipeline near the airport.

The Observatory said the rebel shelling was aimed at the town of Ghasula, a few kilometres from the airport. Rebels have been trying to push into the capital, a stronghold of President Bashar al-Assad, whose family has ruled Syria for four decades.

“It is likely this was a large-scale operation planned well in advance,” said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.

In September, a similar outage was caused after a high-voltage power line was sabotaged.

 

Preparedness for Short Term Regional Disasters, by K.H.H. – SurvivalBlog.com

Preparedness for Short Term Regional Disasters, by K.H.H. – SurvivalBlog.com.

 

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