24 Dec 2013

Ice storm blacks out Toronto

8:37 am on 24 December 2013

Residents of Toronto face a Christmas without electricity after a severe ice storm enveloped Canada's biggest city on Sunday.

At least 11 deaths have been blamed on the storm system in Canada and parts of the US, which were also affected. Five of those were people were killed in Canada in accidents on ice-covered roads.

Toronto's power company said about 219,000 city dwellers were without power as of Monday afternoon and while most restorations were expected to be done by Thursday, some residents may not have electricity until the weekend.

Temperatures as low as -15°C were expected over the next few days and the city has opened several warming centres across Toronto for those withouth piower.

An estimated 10-30 mm of ice built up on trees and other surfaces in the greater Toronto area during the storm. Sheets of ice fell from buildings and off moving vehicles.

Over the border in the United States, many flights were also cancelled due to the storm, at one of the busiest travel periods of the year.