CN Tower closed as ice storm, wind gusts and heavy rainfall pummel Toronto
The ice storm, strong wind gusts and heavy rainfall have caused widespread power outages, brought down trees and even closed a major attraction in Toronto.
The CN Tower was forced to close on Monday due to falling ice. Authorities said the pedestrian bridge at John Street is also off limits.
The falling ice from the 553-metre high structure also managed to damage several glass windows at a nearby building. No injuries have been reported.
The Toronto Blue Jays are working with police and CN Tower officials to determine whether tonight’s home game will be affected as the Rogers Centre is situated next to the tourist attraction.
Team officials said the stadium roof was also damaged by the falling ice. Workers have yet to go up for an inspection as the area is still unsafe.
Power outages in Toronto
Toronto Hydro said approximately 8,400 customers were in the dark Monday. In most cases, crews were dealing with power lines and poles downed by high winds or ice-coated trees that snapped in the onslaught.
At the height of the storm, there were 44,000 customers without power in the city.
On Sunday, Global News obtained video footage showing a dog just barely escaping a falling tree branch in the backyard of a home in Toronto’s East York neighbourhood during the ice storm.
VIDEO: Dog dodges falling tree branch during Ontario ice storm
The neighbourhoods of East York and The Beach were hit especially hard as strong wind gusts brought down trees with some of them landing on homes and vehicles.
Flooding and ponding in Toronto
Myles Currie, director of transportation for the city of Toronto, said crews are tackling ponding and flooding throughout the city.
“Our really crews are really on response right now to flooding calls. So we have equipment out there opening up catch basins, we have pickup trucks with small blades and some larger pieces of equipment responding to that,” he said.
The city is asking those who spot significant ponding or flooding to call 311, Currie said.
“We also are asking the public if they have a chance, and they can do so safely, from a sidewalk or boulevard, open up their catch basin,” he said. “That will help any water to flow better.”
The mix of snow, freezing rain, ice pellets, rain and powerful winds that battered the region Saturday and Sunday made driving treacherous, with provincial police reporting more than 1,450 non-fatal crashes over the two days.
Ontario Provincial Police said a collision involving two transport trucks north of Toronto closed Highway 400 in both directions on Monday.
Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said the crash happened between Mapleview Drive and Innisfil Beach Road. No injuries were reported. All lanes have been reopened.
The driver of the northbound truck has since been charged with careless driving, police said.
Police said there were more than 200 crashes in the Greater Toronto Area by noon on Monday.
On Monday, a number of schools in the Greater Toronto Area were closed and bus service was cancelled due to the road conditions.
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The ice and wet conditions have also affected public transit in Toronto.
The Toronto Transit Commission reported subway delays on Line 2 between Victoria Park and Kennedy due to power issues at Warden Station early Monday but service resumed at 7:15 a.m.
Meanwhile, Line 3 was suspended on Sunday and early Monday due to ice at track level. Shuttle buses were operating between Kennedy and McCowan stations but service resumed at 7:30 a.m.
The storm also played havoc with air traffic, with more than 600 flights cancelled at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport and many others delayed — often for hours. Authorities are advising travellers to check their flight status before coming to the airport.
Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop airport cancelled all departing flights on Sunday and received only one arrival all day. On Monday, delays and cancellations
Weather advisories, flood watch in effect
A rainfall warning remains in effect for parts of southern Ontario, including the GTA, as warmer air makes its way through the region.
Environment Canada said there will be rainfall amounts of between 20 and 30 millimetres when the rain tapers off on Monday.
Standing water may be potentially hazardous on poorly drained roads and highways due to the weekend ice accumulation.
Officials are warning residents to clear drainage and catch basins from ice buildup. They say this can help in more effective water flow and may prevent basement flooding.
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority said a flood watch remains in effect until at least April 17 and people are being warned to stay away from low-lying areas and shorelines.
— With a file from Kerri Breen and The Canadian Press
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