Thousands without power for a few more days

Thousands are still without power, and may be for days. We’ve put together resources to help get you through this week—where to get rid of spoiled food, find a shower, or charge a phone.

Robert Hiltz
25 May

Good morning!

Hell of a year we’re having. I hope you’re able to read this in a home that’s got power. Not exactly the ideal iteration of the May long weekend. In my family, my dad’s house nearly got the worst of it, when a giant birch tree dropped inches from the house (and the gas meter) to one side and feet from the car on the other. Had the tree fallen slightly differently it could have been quite the catastrophe. The front garden didn’t make out so well, though.

Anyway, in today’s issue we’ve brought together a lot of resources around the city — including where to drop off your spoiled food, charge your phone, or grab a shower — that will hopefully be of some use. We’ve tried to do it in a way that’s easy to share with your friends and family so feel free to forward it to anyone who might find it of use.

Let’s get to the latest, there’s quite a bit.

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Weather Report

Wednesday: 23 🌡️ 11 | ☀️

Thursday: 23 🌡️ 17 | 🌧

Friday: 22 🌡️ 14 | 🌧

Massive storm ravages city, power still out for thousands

A downed tree after the storm
Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

Days for power: It may still be days before all power is restored through the city. Winds peaked at 120 km/h at the Ottawa airport at the height of the storm that tore through the city over the weekend and caused enormous damage to trees, hydro poles, and buildings across the city. Three people in the city were killed.

There were still 74,000 people without power as of 5 pm yesterday. Crews are still out around the clock, Hydro Ottawa said. They’ve received support from Kingston, New Brunswick, and the Toronto area. The damage is far worse than the Ice Storm. 

  • There are more than double the number of hydro poles damaged this weekend than there were in the 2018 tornado.

Weeks for cleanup: Mayor Jim Watson said it will take weeks to clean the fallen trees and debris across the city, according to CBC. The city is asking people to limit all non-essential travel as there are still hundreds of intersections without working stoplights, trees and other debris across many others.

  • Dig deeper: Why what hit Ottawa was worse than the Ice Storm or 2018 tornadoes [CBC]

Green bin blitz: In the four wards most affected by the storm — Stittsville, Knoxdale-Merivale, River, and Cumberland — the city will be sending out trucks to collect green bins. The blitz will be in addition to the city’s normal garbage collection schedule. If the organic waste in your bin isn’t collected by the end of the day, the city recommends putting it out again the next day.

Gas crunch: Across the region, gasoline is in short supply. Several stations have run out of fuel, according to CBC, while still others are without power or have been damaged. 

Some schools open: Across the city, schools with power will be open. But there will be no bus service for the English-language public and Catholic boards, the bus service tweeted. You can see the OCDSB list of what schools are closed here. For the Ottawa Catholic School Board, see the list of closed schools here. Five schools at the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Estare closed, you can see that list here. And the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario has posted their list of what’s closed and what’s open here.

Ottawa by the numbers

  • 180,000: The number of people without power at the storm’s worst point, according to Hydro Ottawa.
  • 1,000: The number of seperate power outages across the city.
  • 200: The number of hydro poles knocked down by the storm, Hydro Ottawa said.
  • 40+: The number of roads still closed by fallen trees and power lines as of Tuesday afternoon.
  • 3: The number of people who were killed in the storm, according to CTV.

Where to get assistance from the city

A gas station damaged by the storm
Ralf Joneikies/Ottawa Lookout

According to the City of Ottawa, these facilities are open from 10 am to 10 pm, but locations and hours are subject to change. The centres will once again be open today. Up to the minute information can be found here on the city’s website.

If you need power for charging devices, showers, washrooms, food, or Red Cross support:

These facilities have power for charging devices, showers, and washrooms:

At these three you can get power for charging devices and washrooms:

If you have lost access to your well water, bottled water is available at the following locations along with access to fill containers with potable water:

Because of the amount of spoiled food, the city has opened several bins where you can dispose of things that have gone bad. More will be added in the coming days. The dump at Trail Road also has extended hours and is waiving fees for storm debris. Find a food disposal bin here:

For those with medical oxygen needs and device recharging is available at these centres:

The city also has support for people who need urgent financial assistance and are already on the Ontario Disability Support Program or Ontario Works. You can apply online at this city website.

Ottawa Public Health: The health agency has a comprehensive page made on a website meant to be easy to navigate with limited data use. Information on food safety, mental health tips, and staying safe in the wake of the storm can be found here.

Hydro Ottawa: If you spot a downed power line that hasn’t been taken care of by crews, or blocked off, stay 10 metres away. Then call 613-738-0188 to inform the utility. If your power is still out, be sure to switch off appliances, large devices, and lights so the local power system isn’t overwhelmed when it returns. For the time being, Hydro’s outage map has been turned off because things are so complex.

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Provincial election round-up

Liberals commit to LRT Stage 3: A Liberal government would commit to paying 50 percent of the cost of the next phase of the LRT. Del Duca said the funding would be on offer no matter the outcome of the LRT inquiry, which he said would apply the lessons learned in the first two stages. [Ottawa Citizen] 

NDP would allow lawsuits against LTCs: An NDP government would once again allow families and residents to sue long-term care homes. LTCs were shielded by the Ford government from legal action as part of its pandemic measures. [Toronto Sun]

Doug Ford accused of being a climate denier: Liberal Leader Steven Del Duca accused PC Leader Doug Ford of being a climate change denier in the wake of the massive storm. Ford rebutted the claim, saying he believed in climate change, but then said his plan to build more roads and highways would reduce climate pollution. [CityNews]

Stories you might've missed

Huge surgical backlog remains: Surges in COVID infections over the course of the pandemic have caused an enormous backlog or surgeries and medical procedures. The Ontario Medical Association estimates 22 million services from routine checkups to serious surgeries have had to be postponed. [Ottawa Citizen]

Gatineau braces for flooding: Parts of Gatineau near the shores of the Ottawa River and the Gatineau River are bracing for a flood. The mayor said high snowmelt in the northern part of the watershed is leading to an overfilled reservoir, which must be gradually drained. Sandbags are available to residents. Those along the edge of the Gatineau on Saint-Louis and Jacques-Cartier should be on high alert for rising water levels. [CBC]

Law passes restricting minority language rights: The Quebec government passed a law restricting the rights of non-francophones in the province. The bill is likely to be challenged for the sweeping changes it makes to language rules. Its effects touch everything from the justice system, to the education system, to what language health care can be delivered in. [CTV]

Community highlights

  • Twitter user Simon Leplante points out the difference burying hydro infrastructure might have made, by comparing outages in Mississauga and Ottawa after the storm. (Or maybe not.)
  • It’s the last week for the Belue Yellow Artists’ fundraiser for the Ukrainian Red Cross at Chez Lucien, where you can buy some great local art to support a good cause. [Apt613]
  • If you're in Orléans, keep an eye out for Noodle who has been missing for a few days.
  • Hungry? Don’t miss some great nostalgic burgers at GBurger on Elgin. [Apt613]
  • Tomorrow night, the Capital Music Awards will be handing out awards at Queen Street Fare, check out all the nominees before the bash. [Apt613]
  • Also Thursday, the Ottawa Children’s Festival continues at the Arts Court with tons of great shows for kids.

Today's top photo

Nepean Creek Park at sunset
Michele McMillan/Ottawa Lookout Reader

Today’s photo comes from a simpler time, before the storm, courtesy Michele McMillan. She sends us this great shot from Nepean Creek Park.

Do you have photos of storm damage in your area? Send them our way. We’re looking to run photos from the Lookout community on how the high winds have affected your area.

Daily COVID stats

All infection and vaccination data via Ottawa Public Health. You can find the status of the wastewater tracking here. And you can find vaccination stats here.

  • Active Cases: 549 (+72)
  • Deaths: 803 (+0)
  • Ottawans In Hospital: 1
  • Ottawans In ICU: 0
  • Acute Beds Occupied: 98% 
  • ICU Beds Occupied: 75% 
  • ICU Ventilator Beds Occupied: 29% 

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