First major winter storm knocks out power to thousands



Main photo: Residents in the Hanes Street area are among thousands without power this morning, in this case due to a downed power line

The first big snowstorm of the winter season has left an estimated more than 10,000 people without power this morning. Crews are assessing and repairing the damage with restoration time varying depending on location.

How has the storm affected you?

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  1. Karen Wehrstein on

    At about 3:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, my lights started flickering like crazy… did a disco show the like of which I’ve never seen that went on for what seemed like several minutes while we frantically unplugged computers, etc. Then the power went conclusively out.
    I called Hydro, set up callbacks and got two before my phone also went out: first their friendly recording said power would be restored by 6 p.m. Saturday, then the same friendly recording said it would be restored by 11 p.m. *Sunday*. More than 36 hours to repair the problem seemed implausible, but who was I to know better? I think because there were two phone calls, there were at least two sets of lines downed by blown-over trees, or even more.
    When my power goes out, I have no water, no main heat (geothermal), and worst of all, no internet (how am I supposed to write comments on Doppler?). We drink bottled water and had plenty, so that was okay, plus had kept a tubful of water, useful for flushing. While the freezer in the garage would be okay because the air temp was below freezing, my fridge would not. So I iced it. (If you don’t know this trick: while you have power, you make one or more big pieces of ice by freezing disposable containers of water in your freezer, keep them there, and when the power goes out, put them in the fridge. Or you can just buy a block or three. It’s a return to pre-compressor technology, when the house refrigeration unit was known as an ice-box). Then we went back to bed.
    In the morning, despite a forecast for 2-4 cm of snow, there was eight inches on my driveway. I had already filled my old and sometimes-cantankerous snowblower’s jerry-can, then had every good intention of giving it a trial run well before the snow flew, but kept putting it off. So that would be this morning, and if I couldn’t pull-start it, I wouldn’t be able to plug in the electric starter until Sunday night. Blessed Gods of Capricious Contraptions, a few pulls got it going.
    Then Raphi and I cleared out all the burnable junk that had accumulated on and around our auxiliary heating unit, the airtight stove, since the last time we had to use it. We made sure the chimney was clear, hauled in some wood from the stock I keep for just this purpose, and got the fire going.
    I don’t own a cellphone or a hand-cranked radio, either, so that it occurred to me that I actually had no way of knowing that the outage had not been caused by civilization collapsing. Had tiny but fickle-fingered Donald Trump blown enough of a gasket to press The Button? (Erin, don’t answer 🙂 ) About that time I decided we needed to go into town for two things: 1) more human connection and 2) an adapter that would let us charge our computers from my car battery, as Raphi and I both have serious computer addictions (I don’t know where he got it). A hot meal at Mill on Main was also welcome while I let those who depend on me on the Internet know I’d be unplugged until Sunday night and checked the news (were there were more developments in the Tony Clement saga, e.g. No, the Mill doesn’t have wifi but others around do).
    Charging computers all the way, we headed home and, at a little after 8, were just settling in for a night of stoking the fire when… the power came back on. Experience has shown me that Hydro frequently overestimates how long repairs will take, probably wanting to give you worst case so you’re happy when they’re wrong instead of ticked, but 27 hours is a new record in wrongness.
    Still! At least they were 27 hours wrong the right way! Everything was back to normal (“No new developments in Clement saga”) at least until Sunday afternoon when we wanted to attend the Remembrance Day parade and my car wouldn’t start because Raphi had charged his Macbook a little too long without running the engine. I have a charger but, alas, it’s too slow to get us into town before the parade was over, which is why you didn’t see us there. The phone came back somewhat intermittently, but was solid in time for the important teleconference I had Sunday evening.
    *Now* everything’s back to normal. Until next time.

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