That was the Ice Storm that was

Well I stayed in for the ice storm and it caused a lot of destruction.  Its destroyed one of my patio shade trees and that corpse is now spread out across my patio. My cedar trees at the front ‘exploded’ blocking the path and been topped and cast aside, and the one that ‘hid’ the utility pole and front facet are goners as well. Spring will show if the front facet, which was turned off in October, has suffered.

Destruction of tree limbs due to ice storm

Destruction of tree limbs due to ice storm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The condo neighbourhood has suffered very badly, many trees mature and not mature, shedding limbs and being toppled by the weight of the ice. I’m sure the news services are carrying details.

I live in North York, near Fairview Mall if you want to google for it.  Power was out for just under 3 days. It went out just after a midnight and came back on just before another midnight. North York seems to have a disproportionate number of trees to come down, even though TO is ‘the emerald city’ in the summer. I do wonder where the lines were since in this neighbourhood and surrounding there are no overhead wires except for the 400kV ones that run though the Hydro Avenue ROW. They might suffer from ice but I don’t see them being affected by trees. And the power did come back on patchily in North Work and Scarborough, so I wonder what was going on.

No power meant no internet, no email, no phone service. I could recharge my cell phone in the car, but in the blacked out regions the cell towers were either down or doing ’emergency service only’. Even when I drove to an illuminated region or one of the ‘warming centres’ the relay service was intermittent. I could contact _some_ other cell users but a lot of the land-line service wasn’t connected. Talking today to the people I tied to contact they tell me their land lines were working but the calls weren’t getting though from many regions. However I went to a movie last night downtown and there was little evidence of the storm, cell service worked and it all liked up. Perhaps the only evidence of the storm was that the restaurants were busy.

Besides disrupting transportation, heavy ice a...

Besides disrupting transportation, heavy ice and snow can damage utilities. Power and telephone lines sagging after heavy icestorm. Historic NWS Collection. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The news said that we had Hydro teams called in from Ottawa and even Michigan. I don’t know how extensive the storm was. Did it reach to Kingston?
is typical of what I saw driving round, and of the local estate. For example, my back patio.

it rightly points out

But we shouldn’t forget that we are living in the aftermath of decades of civic neglect. The municipal infrastructure, once a source of pride, has been left to rot.

Any suggestion that, say, we might consider burying hydro lines would garner howls of outrage. Toronto is one of the last major cities whose streets are still lined with utility poles. But putting them underground costs money. In a culture that doesn’t distinguish between price and value, expenditure and investment, power lines and bottom lines, cheapest is best.

Until something like the ice storm comes along and lays waste to the electrical grid, we are happy to turn a blind eye. But along with the gaps that have been revealed, so has our shared short-sightedness.

Word that many Ontarians will be without power until next weekend further underlines the fragility of things. By the time the ice finally melts, and repairs are completed, the bill will be huge. And all we will have accomplished is to get back to where we were before the rain froze.

Oklahoma Ice Storm December 2013 Explored!

Oklahoma Ice Storm December 2013 Explored! (Photo credit: hz536n/George Thomas)

In the meantime, Toronto City Council is figuring out ways to cut the land transfer fees because residents pay too much in taxes.

I feel sorry for the people in the high-rises. I wouldn’t want to walk 8-10 stories never mind the 20-40 that some building reach to.

Where are you living?


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