City of Ottawa officials say it could three to four days to restore power to everyone in Ottawa after a powerful and deadly storm devastated the city on Saturday.
Speaking to the media Sunday afternoon, Mayor Jim Watson said it has been a difficult 24 hours, but citizens will need to remain patient.
“With over 170,000 customers without power, it can’t all be done within an hour or so,” he said. “We don’t have clear sight as to when everyone will get their power back. We anticipate it will be within the next three to four days.”
The storm Saturday afternoon slashed across the city with winds of up to 120 km/h, toppling trees and snapping more than 200 hydro poles.
Hydro Ottawa’s Joseph Muglia told reporters about 5,000 customers had their power restored by Sunday afternoon, but well over 170,000 customers were still without electricity.
“That is comprised of about 560 unique outages across the service territory,” I explained. “The damage assessment is still under way. We’ve done a good chunk of it now, but still quite a bit of it to go, as far as full damage assessment of all the areas involved.”
A Hydro Ottawa news release issued at 6 pm said nearly 10,000 customers had been restored.
Muglia said an order for replacement hydro poles was placed immediately and they are in the process of being delivered. He said there were no supply chain issues with acquiring the necessary poles.
“The poles need to be replaced. They can’t be fixed. There are times when we can repair a pole in a temporary situation … but based on what we’ve seen, especially when you’ve got a pole line where a number of poles have gone down, those require replacement,” he said.
Muglia also said it could take three to four days to have everyone back online. Hydro Ottawa is prioritizing community infrastructure such as hospitals while assessing which customers can be restored safely without compromising others.
During the media availability Sunday, reporters heard that the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Center wastewater treatment plant had lost power, but service was restored by the time the press conference had ended.
Long lines have been reported at gas stations, fast food outlets and grocery stores in Ottawa and Gatineau. Several stations were sold out of gasoline.
Watson asked people to be patient as Hydro Ottawa works to restore power.
“These crews are working tirelessly and I’m not particularly pleased when I see constant attacks on social media of our hydro crews and first responders,” he said. “They are working their hearts out to make sure we get the power back as quickly as possible.”
Watson said the city has the resources it needs to deal with the current emergency, so a state of emergency is not needed at this time.
“We have all the resources we need right now,” Watson said. “If there was a need to seek additional equipment, I’d declare right away.”
Hydro Ottawa’s outage map as of 5 pm May 22, 2022. (hydroottawa.com)
A powerful storm moved across the national capital region at approximately 4 pm with winds of 120 km/h, leaving a trail of damaged homes, downed trees and broken hydro poles and wires. The city is reporting damaged property and fallen trees across the city, “particularly in the Navan, Stittsville, Merivale and Hunt Club areas.”
Three deaths have been reported in the Ottawa region following the storm. Ottawa police say a 59-year-old man died after being struck by a falling tree on a golf course on Golf Club Way in Ottawa’s west end. The investigation into death continues.
A 51-year-old woman drowned after her boat capsized on the Ottawa River near Masson-Angers, Que. In the Ottawa Valley, a 44-year-old man died after being struck by a falling tree in the Township of Greater Madawaska.
Watson says the city of Ottawa’s parks and forestry staff have been deployed across the city to clean up the damage.
POWER OUTAGES IN QUEBEC
Hydro Quebec is reporting 76,905 customers are without power across the Outaouais, as of 5 pm
Outages are being reported across Gatineau, including significant outages in Aylmer.
There is no word on when power will be restored.
OTTAWA POLICE RESPONSE
Ottawa police are asking motorists to avoid travel if possible and be aware of debris and live wires on roads.
Several roads remain closed due to downed trees and hydro lines.
“Multiple road closures and infrastructure replacement will continue for days,” police said.
Police say it has “maintained enhanced operations” in the most storm-affected areas.
“Uniformed patrols were increased in most affected areas and will continue,” police said in an update Sunday morning.
Police say there were few incidents to report; however, there was a break and enter along Merivale Road.
“Officers responded to a break and enter in progress in the 1600 block of Merivale Rd. just before 11 pm and arrested an individual exiting a building,” police said.
Ottawa police received approximately 2,400 calls for service between 3 pm Saturday and 11 am on Sunday.
On Saturday, there were 2,807 calls to 911. On a typical Saturday, there are nearly 900 calls to 911.
CITY OPENING EMERGENCY RECEPTION CENTERS
The city of Ottawa is opening emergency reception centers for residents affected by Saturday’s severe storm. Mayor Jim Watson said the following sites would be open from 10 am to 10 pm daily.
The following sites are open for power for charging devices, showers and washrooms:
The following facility offers power for charging devices and washrooms:
The city says food services will be offered at additional centers in the coming hours and days.
Long lines were reported at gas stations, grocery stores and fast food outlets and convenience stores across Ottawa on Sunday, as people looked to stock up on supplies.
In Kanata, long lines formed at the Ultramar on Hazeldean Road, where motorists were filling up the gas tank and Jerrycans.
A long line for gas at the Ultamar on Hazeldean Road on Sunday. (Annette Goerner/CTV News Ottawa)
In western Quebec, there were long lineups at gas stations as motorists looked to fill up. CTV News Ottawa’s Joel Haslam said at the only gas station in Chelsea, Que., only one pump is open and its cash only.
Residents line up at Chelsea’s only gas station. One pump is open and it’s cash only. (Joel Haslam/CTV News Ottawa)
At College Square, several restaurants had long lines as people looked for coffee and food.
The National Capital Commission is asking people to avoid Gatineau Park after the storm caused damage across the park.
The NCC says all parkways, except the Philippe Lake Parkway, and the Pioneers and Pike Lake Trail are closed in Gatineau Park until further notice.
“We ask that users avoid Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt and remain patient while our teams secure and clear our sites,” the NCC said.
NATIONAL CAPITAL COMMISSION PROPERTIES IN OTTAWA
The National Capital Commission says all Greenbelt sectors are closed until further notice following the storm.
“Following the storm on Saturday, there are failed or dangerous trees throughout the region. NCC crews are working hard to assess and secure our sites,” the NCC said Saturday.
“We ask that users avoid Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt and remain patient while our teams secure and clear our sites.”
Advance voting locations are closed in several ridings in Ottawa and east of the capital on Sunday following the storm. Here is a look at which polling stations are closed on Sunday.
- CARDELREC Recreation Center on Shea Road in Stittsville
- Greely Community Center on Meadow Drive in Greely
- Rideauview Community Center on Shoreline Drive in Gloucester
- Kanata Recreation Complex on Charlie Rogers Place in Stittsville
- West Carleton Community Complex on Carp Road in Kinburn
- Walter Baker Sports Center on Malvern Drive
- All polling stations are open
- All polling stations are open
- All polling stations open
- All polling stations open
- Rum Kolbus Lakeside Center on Greenview Avenue
- Hawkesbury Mall returning office
- Maple Hall – Cumberland Lions Club on Old Montreal Road in Cumberland
Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project will deploy a team to southern Ottawa today to investigate whether a tornado hit the region.
“It is anticipated that more locations with potential tornado damage will be visited tomorrow, and possibly beyond.”
You can file a report to the Western University Northern Tornadoes Project.