TORONTO -- A nasty ice storm that left hundreds of thousands without power in Ontario and Quebec tracked through the Maritimes on Monday as authorities worked frantically to clear tree-strewn roadways, restore downed hydro lines and get stranded travellers to their destinations.

Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area, which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system, warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

Some neighbourhoods resembled crime scenes with yellow police tape used to cordon off areas where electric wires or large trees had come crashing down over the weekend. Sidewalks around some high rise buildings were also closed off due to the risk of falling ice.

Meanwhile, travellers trying to get home for the holidays continued to face delays and cancellations on airlines and trains.

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  • Looks pretty! I mean the Logo on truck!!! lol

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros">nmedeiros</a>:<br />

  • All signs point to ice

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Road sign fringed with ice in Brampton during the ice storm that hit southern Ontario Dec 22 2013

  • B&W ice branches

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/740788092/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele">IamSteele</a>:<br />Closeup on the first night. B&W in the Leeside neighborhood of Toronto.

  • Iced Line

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Electrical line drooping across a neighbors driveway in Brampton during the Dec 22 2013 ice storm that hit southern Ont.

  • Apple tree branch

    Toothpick size branch

  • ice Storm

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/616822574/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda">Ron Linda</a>:<br />The big one in Quispamsis, N.B.

  • Eastborne Park

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Standing Strong

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Maple Leaf in ice

  • Iced Cherry

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Frozen Cherries

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Not a tree spared!

  • Frozen In Time, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Nite Shot

  • Ice Flowers ~ Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Crews clear branches snagged on power lines on a closed road in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • An arborist cuts a tree branch dangling from a power line in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • A pedestrian walks down a street still closed due to downed power lines and trees in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Peel Region employee Dwayne Berrigan cuts fallen limbs from iced trees in Brampton,Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area, which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system, warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Travelers line up after dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Passengers sleep on the floor in the check-in line as dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm, at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Got Game

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1568910464/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend">Phil Vriend</a>:<br />The dolls on display at my neighbour's house also took a hit in the ice storm.

  • Workers from Stacey Electric, a Toronto Hydro subcontractor, work to repair downed power lines around Victoria Park and Denton Avenues in Scarborough on Dec. 23 after a severe ice storm hit Toronto.

  • A vehicle damaged by fallen tree branches is shown in the High Park area of Toronto on Dec. 23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • Fallen tree limbs are stacked up in the Urban Forestry Yard in Toronto on Dec.23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • It was his time. We all have to go some time.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen">Darryl Nielsen</a>:<br />It was his time. We all have to go some time.

  • The icy hedge

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100001296030346/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T">sunil T</a>:<br />An icy hedge in our neighborhood in Don Mills this morning.

  • A pedestrian walks under a tree blocking Wellesley Street East following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Power lines dangle on Sackville Street following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • A man pushes a stroller through an ice-covered street in Toronto, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after a storm passed through the area.

  • Ice coats tree branches as a man walks on the sidewalk in Toronto , Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after an ice storm passed through the area.

  • People clear the sidewalks on a closed off street in Toronto after an ice storm knocked down trees and power lines in much of the city on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.

  • John Szücs scrapes ice off his car near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, following ice storm.

  • Icicles hang from a downed power line on a residential street in Toronto as over 250,000 people face up to 72 hours without electricity after a storm brought heavy ice rain, on Sunday, December 22, 2013.

  • A man steps over downed power line near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 following an ice storm.

  • Our tree in Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />The ice storm tore our tree right in half.

  • Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />Our street got hit hard

  • Kitchener

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii">iiabbieii</a>:<br />Our tree sure took a beating

  • @scubafantoo

    @scubafantoo: <a href="https://twitter.com/scubafantoo/status/414775553385050112" target="_blank">#ONSTORM @StormhunterTWN @StormhunterTWN @vaughanweather @JdeQuebec Brampton, Ont! pic.twitter.com/XTHTnPjh1Z</a>

  • Lending A Helping Hand

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/775930130/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr">fitcheerldr</a>:<br />The neighbourhood coming together to help clean up after the ice storm of 2013.

  • @LoveRadollCats

    @LoveRadollCats: <a href="https://twitter.com/LoveRadollCats/status/414808493439188992/photo/1" target="_blank">#icestorm2013 Kitchener Ontario pic.twitter.com/nAxYS8VEJ9</a>

  • @ar09

    @ar09: <a href="https://twitter.com/ar09/status/414803999263428609/photo/1" target="_blank">tree down in #icestorm2013 #darkTO #680storm #icestorm24 pic.twitter.com/zWV4wFRB9e</a>

  • ‏@elanacamille

  • ‏@fitcheerldr

    ‏@fitcheerldr: <a href="https://twitter.com/fitcheerldr/status/414795586630467585/photo/1" target="_blank">Here's a pic of our neighbourhood working together to clear the downed trees. pic.twitter.com/63qWGAVyTB</a>

  • @diego153

  • @MattBellissimo

    @MattBellissimo: <a href="https://twitter.com/MattBellissimo/status/414784624125308929/photo/1" target="_blank">Normally I'd blame lightning for something like this... pic.twitter.com/P3wX5lVUe2</a>

  • @randy_mcneil

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • @canuck10001

  • @cylonchloe

  • @cylonchloe

Environment Canada said the storm had hit Eastern Canada hard.

"It was a mighty blow,'' senior climatologist David Phillips told The Canadian Press. "It came at a really difficult time for people travelling and doing last minute shopping.''

The weather agency said the system had turned particularly vicious thanks to a combination of warm air from Texas colliding with cold air over Canada to create a drawn out period of freezing rain.

"We had freezing rain from south of London, all the way through to Ottawa and Montreal and southern Quebec and now today to central and southern new Brunswick, all of P.E.I. and most of Nova Scotia,'' said Phillips.

"The geographical reach of this nasty, nasty storm is really affecting millions of Canadians in Eastern Canada.''

While the freezing rain was expected to peter out by Tuesday, Phillips warned that the ice it brought would remain as temperatures stayed below freezing.

"There's no natural melting going on,'' he said. "It's going to be human effort and endeavour that will get rid of the sheath of ice that's covering Eastern Canada.''

The situation meant utility companies working to restore power to thousands of homes had to deal with the possibility that ice-laden tree limbs could continue to splinter, snapping power lines.

Crews were working around the clock to get the lights back on in cities and towns across Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick, but warned there was a possibility not everyone would be reconnected by Christmas Day.

Kelly Mathews was among those bracing for that scenario.

"I'm hosting Christmas this year, starting tomorrow all of my family is arriving,'' said the Aurora, Ont., resident who lost power early on Sunday morning.

"I've been running everything down from my freezer and fridge to the garage to keep it cold. I had just done all of my food shopping.''

While Mathews hoped her power would be back on by Wednesday, she planned to move the holiday meal to her parents home in Thornhill, Ont., where the lights are still on, if she remained in the dark.

Making such alternative arrangements was being encouraged by utility companies on Monday.

"The prudent thing now is to plan for the worst and hope for the best,'' said Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines, whose utility had some 195,000 customers without power Monday afternoon, down from more than 300,000 at the peak of the outage.

"At this point we simply don't know the work that we have ahead of us, so it would be irresponsible for us to say 'Well, by Christmas morning you will all be back.'''

Haines said there were some communities that crews hadn't been able to get into yet as they triaged the power outage situation, prioritizing hospitals, water treatment plants and ``feeders'' which serviced thousands of customers.

He did suggest, however, that recovery efforts appeared to be turning a corner.

"I feel that we're now winning the war, we're able to restore more than is breaking behind us.''

The last people to get their lights back on will likely be those in homes in residential areas where crews are only able to restore power to one house at a time, said Haines.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Toronto emphasized Monday that Canada's largest city was not in a state of emergency.

"If the weather and the winds picked up last night and it was worse, then we would have had to ask the province for some help,'' said Rob Ford. "Obviously we're not even close to that situation.''

Although Toronto Hydro had been operating under its own state of emergency due to widespread power outages Ford said he felt he had made the right call.

"Weather changes...it's hard to predict,'' he said. "And you don't want to cry wolf.''

Elsewhere in Ontario, Power Stream, which serves Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan among other communities, reported 16,300 customers were still down.

Meanwhile, Hydro One, which serves 1.3 million customers in Ontario communities that include Guelph, Peterborough and Walkerton, said about 65,000 customers were still without power in smaller towns and rural areas. Some 160,000 were in the dark at the height of the storm.

Hydro One cancelled vacations for about 300 employees and had about 900 workers out trying to reconnect downed lines. It had also called in crews from other parts of Ontario.

"This is a massive effort. A great deal of work is going on around the clock. Employees are working 16 hour days in very dangerous conditions,'' said Hydro One CEO Carmine Marcello.

"We've been able, given our provincial scope, to move crews from as far away as Thunder Bay and Sudbury in to help out.''

Marcello added that the situation remained precarious for work crews because of the heavy ice buildup on trees, with a plunge in temperatures coming Monday night.

The utility's helicopters were unable to get into some regions because of low cloud and hadn't yet assessed all the damage.

In Quebec, nearly 45,000 customers remained without power, largely in the province's Eastern Townships as technicians worked to fix electricity lines and other equipment damaged by the storm.

An icy mix of rain and freezing rain played havoc with the electricity grid across the Maritimes on Monday as ice-laden trees fell on power lines, leaving tens of thousands in the dark in southern New Brunswick and northern Nova Scotia.

At one point, more than 44,000 residents and businesses were without power in southern New Brunswick. The hardest hit communities were Rothesay and St. Stephen, where more than 30,000 were dealing with outages by the early evening.

NB Power said the resulting ice build-up from the rain had brought a number of tree branches down onto electrical lines, complicating work to restore power, while slippery roads were making it difficult for trucks to even get to problem areas.

With files from Michael MacDonald in Halifax

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says one Hamilton worker was injured due to falling ice last night.

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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford urges caution as warmer weather can cause ice to fall.

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As of the afternoon of Christmas Day, tens of thousands from Ontario to the Maritimes are still without power. According to the Canadian Press:

- 13,500 customers without power in Quebec, primarily in the Eastern Townships

- 30,000 customers in the dark in N.B., with nearly half in Saint John area

- Power back on for affected customers in N.S.

- 2,500 customers without power in Pickering and Ajax east of Toronto

- 6,700 customers without power in Markham, Richmond Hill and Vaughan

- 24,000 customers without power in Guelph, Peterborough and Walkerton

- 72,000 customers without power in Toronto

For the latest updates on the power outages, we'll be posting more on the story at huffingtonpost.ca or follow us on Twitter.

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Many calls related to carbon monoxide. Chief Jim Sales reminds people not to use outdoor generators, stoves, barbecues indoors. Very dangerous and a CO risk.

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Head of TCH says hundreds of meals being handed out to residents without power.

Premier Wynne also to make visit to TCH facilities later this afternoon, according to official itinerary.

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Mayor Rob Ford said that garbage crews will begin pick-up of tree debris on Dec. 27. Could take 4-6 weeks to pick up large volume of waste.

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Officials updating at 11 am press conference:

Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto Hydro say about 72,000 customers now without power. Majority of outages on the east side of the city.

Toronto Hydro CEO Anthony Haines urging patience. Says call centre is receiving 128,000 calls, average day about 3000 calls.

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Temperatures in the City of Toronto have risen. The high on Christmas day is expected to be -4. The city says that warming centres are still open.

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City of Toronto 9:35 PM EST Tuesday 24 December 2013

Special weather statement for City of Toronto continued

Very cold temperatures moderating later Christmas Day. Winds to 20 km/h at times.

Cold temperatures are occurring over the areas most significantly affected by the weekend ice storm. As of 9:00 PM Christmas Eve, temperatures averaged near minus 15, except minus 19 in the St Lawrence Valley.

A very cold night is in store. Low temperatures Christmas morning are expected to range from minus 17 in the City of Toronto to minus 23 in some rural areas and in the St Lawrence Valley.

Temperatures will slowly moderate Christmas Day with temperatures reaching minus 6 to minus 8 late Christmas afternoon. Temperatures will further moderate to values near minus 3 by Boxing Day.

Winds are generally light to northwesterly at 15 km/h this evening, becoming light tonight, then southeast 20 km Christmas Day. On Boxing Day winds of 20 to 25 km/h from southwest are forecast.

Periods of snow will develop over most regions Christmas Day then end by Boxing Day. However amounts of 5 cm or less are expected.

The moderate winds at times could cause more branches to fall. To those who are still without power it is advised to seek warm shelter and prepare for the colder than average temperatures that are expected.

Given the well below freezing temperatures, much of the ice will not melt and will likely remain on many surfaces through Christmas and Boxing Day until the end of the week.

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Pets welcome. Vulnerable residents will be able to access food, water, and heat.

Toronto Community Centre locations are as follows:

  • Dennis R. Timbrell Community Centre, 29 St. Denis Dr. (Eglinton/Don Mills)
  • Malvern Community Centre, 30 Sewells Rd. (Neilson/Finch)
  • Agincourt Community Centre, 31 Glen Watford Rd. (Sheppard/Midland)
  • Driftwood Community Centre, 4401 Jane St. (between Finch and Steeles)
  • Mitchell Field Community Centre, 89 Church Ave. (Yonge/Finch)
  • Joseph P. Piccininni Community Centre, 1369 St Clair Ave. W. (St Clair/Keele)
  • Matty Eckler Community Centre, 953 Gerrard St. E. (Pape/Gerrard)
  • Lawrence Heights Middle School, 50 Highland Hill (between Ranee and Dane)
  • Edithvale Community Centre, 131 Finch Ave. W. (between Bathurst and Yonge)
  • Pleasantview Community Centre, 545 Van Horne Ave. (between Edmonton and Brian)
  • East York Collegiate Institute, 650 Cosburn Ave. (Coswell/Coxwell)
  • McGregor Park Community Centre, 2231 Lawrence Ave. E. (Lawrence/Kennedy)

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  • Division 11 – 2054 Davenport Road (Davenport/Osler)
  • Division 12 – 200 Trethewey Drive (Trethewey/Black Creek)
  • Division 14 – 350 Dovercourt Road (College/Dovercourt)
  • Division 22 – 3699 Bloor Street West (Bloor West/Dundas West)
  • Division 23 – 5230 Finch Avenue West (Kipling/Finch)
  • Division 31 – 40 Norfinch Road (Norfinch/Finch West)
  • Division 33 – 50 Upjohn Road (York Mills/Don Mills)
  • Division 42 – 242 Milner Avenue (Milner/Markham)
  • Division 43 – 4331 Lawrence Ave. E (Lawrence Ave. E/ Kingston Road)
  • Division 51 – 51 Parliament Street (Front/Parliament)
  • Division 52 - 255 Dundas Street West (LOBBY ONLY)
  • Toronto Police Service College – 70 Birmingham Street (Birmingham/Fifth)
  • Toronto Police Service HQ – 40 College Street (College/Bay)

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She dodges the question. "I'll continue working with the people making the decisions at City Hall."

Says she wants to make sure that provincial resources are being allocated properly.

Wynne says politics at City Hall haven't had an impact on ice storm response.

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"We are talking with the decision maker. We are talking with the team. Anthony Haines (Toronto Hydro CEO) is sitting right here."

"We are dealing with decision makers at city hall, the on-the-ground decision makers," she said in response to a media question.

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