Severe windstorm leaves more than 3,500 in Barrie without power

Severe winds in Barrie knock a tree onto a power line, causing it to catch fire. Hannah Jackson / Global News

Severe winds have caused more than 3,500 people in the Barrie area to lose power. All across Simcoe County, emergency crews are reporting downed power lines, fallen trees and damage to homes and cars.

Environment Canada has issued a wind warning and severe thunderstorm watch for most of central and southern Ontario. They say wind gusts up to 100 kilometres an hour are possible, and will be strong enough to rip shingles off of roofs, and toss loose objects into the air.

Director of external affairs for Alectra, Eric Fagen, says that 92,000 of their customers are now without power.

Fagen says that while the situation is fluid, they cannot provide estimated times for reconnection for specific areas. However, he says all of their crews are currently working on reconnecting customers, and they have called in contract workers to aid.

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However, while Alectra cannot provide an estimated time for reconnection, Fagen says they do expect the wind to subside overnight.

READ MORE: 2 dead as storm wreaks havoc on southern Ontario, toppling trees and electrical wires

He also stresses that anyone who sees a downed power line should stay a safe distance, at least 10 metres away, and report it to emergency services immediately.

Similarly, Fagen says if a power line falls onto your vehicle, the safest option is to stay inside, contact emergency services and wait to be rescued.

Barrie police are reminding the community that if they come across a traffic light that is without power or is not functioning correctly, to treat it as a four-way stop. They are also reminding residents to keep an eye out for airborne debris. They have also warned residents to prepare for power outages by gathering items for an emergency preparedness kit.

Barrie Fire is also urging residents to stay away from areas with downed power lines. An outage map can be found here.

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