Clean-up continues across Toronto after short but severe wind storm
Published Monday, May 7, 2018 12:19PM EDT Last Updated Monday, May 7, 2018 6:51PM EDT
The clean-up continues across Toronto today following a short but powerful wind storm that left thousands of residents without power.
Powerful winds of up to 110 km/hr topped large trees, pulled down wires and tore off roof shingles in neighbourhoods across the GTA and Hamilton on Friday afternoon.
Hydro crews have been working around the clock to restore power to customers scattered the region.
At the height of the storm, Toronto Hydro reported approximately 68,000 of its customers were impacted.
That number was down to about 630 as of Monday afternoon.
Toronto Hydro said restoration efforts were hampered by damage caused to poles and wires. In some cases, winds prevented crews from going up in buckets to start work on problem areas.
Mayor John Tory said the city doesn’t yet have a definitive number related to the cost of damage. He said city crews are “working hard” with “all available resources” to attend to reports about weather damage.
“With respect to trees, there were 1,400 wind-related tree incidents that were phoned in to the city’s 311 number and 500 of those had been resolved as of this morning. Another 900 are outstanding,” Tory told reporters at an unrelated news conference on Monday morning.
Tory said about 700 of the remaining incidents had only been “partially addressed.”
“I drove through an intersection last night when I was up at a visitation where all the traffic signals had just been blown down, there were just wires hanging,” he said. “It was quite extraordinary to see.”
On Howland Avenue in the Annex this morning, city workers began dismantling a large tree that collapsed onto a home and became partially lodged in the roof.
Ramona Omidvar said her three daughters were the only ones inside the home when the tree came down.
“They said it sounded like a really long earthquake,” Omidvar said. “They ran out of the house and the neighbours were out in front saying, ‘Go back in, go back in.’”
The family hasn’t been able to return to their home since Friday due to the extensive structural damage it sustained.
“I’m tired of not knowing where I am going to sleep the next day and where my kids are going to go after school,” Omidvar said.
“Every time we call the city they say that there are many trees fallen and I agree. I just can’t imagine a tree in a more dangerous, precarious way.”
Crews arrived Monday afternoon and used two cranes and several chainsaws to remove the trunk from the house.
“I’m so glad it’s down and I just want to go inside and take a nap,” Omidvar said.
Repairs to a Scarborough home belonging to a family of four will take much longer to repair. The roof over the the Boyko family living room was blown right off during the storm. Steven Boyko told CTV News Toronto that parts of it came crashing down onto the sofa, where nine-year-old Nathan was sitting. The child suffered a bruise on his leg when he was hit by a falling brick.
“All I could see was him sitting on the sofa covered in drywall, insulation, bricks all over the place,” Boyko said.
The family has been staying in a hotel room since Friday’s storm and they’ve been told it could be a month or two before the home is repaired.
“I don’t know where to go from here,” Boyko said.
Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe campaign to help the family get back on its feet.
Meanwhile, crews began substantial repairs at Lawrence Heights Middle School on Highland Hill in North York this morning after the destructive winds tore off a large swath of the roof.
About a dozen class rooms impacted by the storm need to be “dried out” and tiles need to be ripped out of the water-soaked ceiling.
“When I walked in there was water all over the place, there were ceiling tiles falling down. It was just horrendous, it was horrendous… I was afraid,” Principal Juliet Sesanker-Daniel told CTV News Toronto.
Sesanker-Daniel said about 180 students are impacted by the damage and have been placed in other parts of the building while the repairs occur.
She said the school was empty when the storm hit.
“I thank God that there were no kids in the building at the time, because if it happened during lunch time, there could’ve been fatalities,” she said.