NEWS

Thousands Still Without Power After Severe Windstorm Rocks City

11/25/2014 06:22 EST | Updated 01/25/2015 05:59 EST

Toronto Hydro was working to restore power to thousands of customers still in the dark and city crews began clearing extensive debris Tuesday after a powerful windstorm blew through the city.

While power had been restored to most homes affected by the widespread outages reported Monday night, Toronto Hydro said it could take until the afternoon before all homes have electricity back. There are currently about 1,000 homes without power, Toronto Hydro said. At the peak of the storm Monday night, as many as 10,000 customers were without electricity.

Late Monday evening, the utility tweeted that “additional resources for the morning shift” were being lined up, and that some complicated repairs are better left for the daylight.

Tanya Bruckmueller, a public affairs advisor at Toronto Hydro, said there are still many obstacles facing crews trying to repair damages.

"The challenge with weather related damage is we often don’t know how bad it is until we get on site,” she said. "​In some cases, we don't even have road access, so the trucks can't get down."

Meanwhile Toronto Police were warning motorists on Twitter that many traffic lights remained without power and cautioned drivers to treat intersections as four-way stops.

The city was put under a wind warning from Environment Canada Monday afternoon, and winds of up to 70 km/h hit some areas of the GTA.

At Pearson International Airport, where some flights were delayed due to the wind, the weather agency measured maximum gusts of 102 km/h. All operations at the airport had returned to normal by Tuesday morning.

The power of the windstorm was evidenced in Roncesvalles, where a massive tree branch crushed the roof of Dirk Townsend’s Volkswagen sedan.

"Well, it's been a great car and we've lived with it for 13 years but I guess its end has come," reflected Townsend.

A large maple tree also came down near Bloor Street and Pacific Avenue, completely blocking the road. City crews are expected to cut that tree into pieces and remove it first thing.

"I think it's lucky that nobody got hurt, somebody could have got killed with that tree for sure," said Linda Di Felice, a resident in the area. "This windstorm is amazing."

The wind was still blowing hard in some areas Tuesday morning, reaching up to nearly 50 km/h. Hydro One was also reporting 800 outages affecting about 70,000 throughout southern Ontario.

Hydro One spokeswoman Nancy Shaddick told CBC News the utility has dispatched four helicopters to begin assessing damages from the air and help direct crews on the ground to the hardest-hit areas.

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