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Ice storm 2013: Powerless Ontarians dreaming of a bright Christmas may be out of luck

ABOVE: Jackson Proskow offers the latest update on the Ontario ice storm – what’s closed, what’s delayed, and when can we expect the power to be restored? 

TORONTO – Hundreds of thousands of residents across southern Ontario remained without power Monday in the wake of a massive ice storm – and they could be in the dark for days.

As of noon Monday, Toronto Hydro said about 219,000 customers remained without power, down from about 300,000 at the height of the weekend storm. An additional 110,000 Hydro One customers are without power across the region. But as crews target the downed feeder lines bringing power to thousands, the hardest part could be restoring electricity to individual homes, cut off by local lines downed by falling frozen branches.

It would be “irresponsible” to guarantee power to everyone by Christmas, Toronto Hydro’s CEO said Monday.

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Power Outages: 

  • Hydro One is reporting more than 110,000 customers are without power across Ontario. Check the latest outages here.
  • Toronto Hydro is reporting approximately 219,000 customers in pockets around the city have lost power. Check the latest outages here.
  • PowerStream, which manages hydro for Vaughan, Richmond Hill, Markham and Aurora is reporting about 20,000 outages across the region. Check the latest outages here.
  • Enersource reports more than 5,000 customers in Mississauga are without power. Check the latest outages here.

School Closures:

All Toronto District School Board (TDSB) facilities, including childcare centres, are closed Monday. The Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) are closed Monday and Tuesday.

Humber College announced that all of its campuses and services will be closed Monday.

Warming centres in Toronto, York Region, Mississauga and Brampton »

Warming centres in Toronto, York Region, Mississauga and Brampton

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Provincial Response

Premier Kathleen Wynne said in an afternoon press conference at Queen’s Park that many of the problems around Ontario are localized and icy roads are delaying crews from reaching harder hit areas.

“Each community seems to have been affected quite uniquely,” she said. “If you don’t have to go out, it’s better to stay off the roads.”

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She also asked people to not touch downed wires.

“Christmas is just a few days away and we’re doing everything we can to restore power and ensure safety,” she said.

WATCH: Officials from the province of Ontario and Toronto Hydro update the public on recovery efforts

READ MORE: Snow, ice pellets and freezing rain hitting Eastern Canada this weekend

“The freezing rain is a concern for everyone right now. The weight it puts on tree branches and wires is a problem for us,” said Tanya Bruckmueller, a spokesperson for Toronto Hydro. “Right now we can’t guarantee restorations time at this point. With the road conditions and because it’s the evening it will take us a while to get to everyone.”

Bruckmueller said the challenge facing hydro crews is that a lot of the power outages are very localized making it difficult for crews to reach affected customers spread out across the city.

Toronto Hydro said it could take up to 72 hours for to fix the outages and get everyone reconnected.

Mayor Rob Ford urged those with power to check on family, friends and neighbours who may need help. Ford has not called a state of emergency.

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WATCH: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford won’t declare a state of emergency 

Toronto has opened up a number of warming centres for people without power:

  • Dennis R Timbrell Community Centre – 29 St Denis Drive
  • Malvern Community Centre – 30 Sewells Road
  • Agincourt Community Centre – 31 Glen Walford Rd.
  • Don Montgomery Community Centre – 2467 Eglinton Avenue East
  • Mitchell Field Community Centre – 89 Church Avenue
  • Joseph P Piccinini Community Centre – 1369 St. Clair Avenue West
  • Franklin Horner Community Centre – 432 Horner Avenue
  • 2 Civic Centre Court – Near Etobicoke Civic Centre
  • Matty Eckler Community Centre – 953 Gerrard Street East
  • McGregor Park Community Centre – 2231 Lawrence Avenue East

Toronto Police have opened community rooms in their division headquarters for use as warming centres:

READ MORE: Looking back at the Ice Storm of 1998

Toronto Hydro is also reminding people to have an emergency preparedness kit that include:

  • Cash. In a power outage bank machines and debit/credit machines may not be operational.
  • Bottled water  enough for three litres per person, per day.
  • Canned food and a manual can opener.
  • Battery operated radio for news updates.
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The storm also caused massive delays as GO train service was suspended along the Lakeshore East line due to several power outages and some street car service was shutdown.

READ MORE: Ontario ice storm travel disruptions

Officials are warning people to avoid downed power lines, and to watch out for falling tree branches.

In Toronto, reports of downed wires can be made at 416-542-8000.

Many Vaughan community centres are also closed because of power outages:

• Al Palladini Community Centre
• Chancellor Community Centre
• Father Ermanno Bulfon Community Centre
• Garnet A. Williams Community Centre
• North Thornhill Community Centre
• Woodbridge Community Centre and Memorial Arena

Check the City of Vaughan’s website for updates here, and report downed trees in Vaughan at 905-832-2281 then pressing 0 for dispatch. The city said salting of roads will continue after road and forestry crews clear the debris.

Several Toronto public libraries were without power Monday morning:

  •  Oakwood Village
  • Mount Pleasant
  • Perth
  • Dupont
  • Maria A. Shchuka
  • Wychwood
  • North York Central
  • Bayview
  • Centennial
  • Yorkwoods
  • Jane Sheppard
  • Hillcrest
  • Weston Road
  • Eatonville
  • Alderwood
  • Mimico
  • Swansea
  • Jane Dundas
  • Woodview Park
  • Richview
  • Bendell
  • Burrows Hall
  • Goldhawk
  • Highland Creek
  • Morningside
  • Port Union
  • McGregor Park

Toronto roads closed to traffic, as of Monday morning, due to fallen power lines/trees:

  • Old Kingston Road from Military Trail to Manse Road
  • Military Trail from Old Kingston Road to Bobmar Road
  • St. Andrews Road from Meldazy Drive to Suraty Avenue
  • Colonel Danforth Trail – Bonacres Avenue to dead end
  • Highview Avenue at Lillington Avenue
  • Pinegrove Road at South Edgely Avenue.
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OPP asking drivers to slow down on the roads

With icy surfaces making highways slippery police are asking people to stay off the roads unless travel is absolutely essential.

“Only travel if you have to. This is a good day to stay at home because the roads are still treacherous and work crews need time to get out there and cleanup the roads,” OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt told Global News Sunday.

OPP said that despite the weather there are no major road closures.

“We have lots of small crashes, lots of cars in the ditch but no major closures. People are still driving too fast and need to slow down,” said Sgt. Schmidt.

The OPP also warned drivers that if they have to drive to make sure their car windows are clear and they have winter tires.

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