Update on City of Toronto storm response

Staff from across City of Toronto divisions and agencies, including Transportation Services, Parks, Forestry and Recreation, Toronto Fire Services, Toronto Police Service, the Office of Emergency Management, TTC, and Toronto Hydro have been responding on a 24/7 basis to this weekend’s ice storm.

The City of Toronto opened its Emergency Operations Centre on Friday to monitor the situation, coordinate and communicate response efforts.

“Toronto experienced extreme weather conditions that fluctuated widely throughout the weekend,” said Mayor John Tory. “I would like to thank residents for their patience and cooperation throughout this storm. I also want to thank City staff and our emergency response partners for their work to keep Toronto safe and moving.”

Environment Canada has advised that the heaviest precipitation has moved east of the city. The strong winds experienced overnight will decrease by early afternoon and the temperature will rise to a high of five degrees. The Emergency Operations Centre remains open today.

Residents are encouraged to call or visit vulnerable friends, neighbours and family to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the weather.

Highlights of the operational response to the storm, which brought freezing rain, ice pellets, excessive rain and high winds, included the following:

Toronto Fire Services
From Friday through to 7:45 this morning, Toronto Fire crews responded 3,222 times to 1,330 separate emergency incidents.

Transportation Services
All roads are open to traffic. Transportation crews are clearing catch basins to prevent localized flooding of roads. Plowing was completed on expressways and on arterial roadways where required. Salting and snow clearing is ongoing in high pedestrian areas, bus stops, steps, walkways and bridges – 6,940 tonnes of salt have been used thus far. Some traffic signals have been affected and continue to be addressed.

Urban Forestry
Since Saturday morning, 534 tree-related calls were received via 311. Over 60 forestry crews are currently responding to these requests, with priority given to calls where a hazard is posed to the public and property, to assist Toronto Hydro in re-establishing power, or to clear roads.

Crews continue to respond to tree emergencies today, with full clean-up expected by Wednesday. For damaged trees on private property, residents should obtain the services of a private tree service company.

Homelessness Services
Staff monitor and manage capacity in overnight services on an ongoing basis to ensure there are safe spaces for all who request them. This was the case over the weekend.

Outreach teams were on the streets day and night to assist those on their vulnerable list (people known to them who often remain outdoors at their “anchor” spots) and others to offer services, often on a repeated basis. They also responded to concerned citizen calls throughout the weekend and thank those who called 311. Outreach continues today and tonight.

311 Toronto
On Sunday, 311 received 3,115 calls which is a 273% increase compared to the previous week. The primary reasons for calls were regarding tree damage, hydro outages, bylaw enforcement regarding low heat/no heat and status of recreation programs and classes.

Toronto Hydro
As of 6 a.m. approximately 10,000 customers were experiencing power outages (down from a high of 44,000) due primarily to downed wires and tree related incidents. Follow @TorontoHydro on Twitter for updates.

The restoration may take some time given the number of events/locations, difficult conditions and in some cases fallen trees and other obstructions. Toronto Hydro is directing available resources to storm restoration and plan to work around the clock. Customer and staff safety is the first priority.
To report a power outage, call Toronto Hydro at 416-542-8000.

TTC
No impacts to service. There are delays and diversions on multiple bus routes due to fallen trees, downed wires and auto accidents. These are minor diversions.

Contacting the City and other agencies during a rain or snow storm
Call 311, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to report flooded or damaged expressways, non-working traffic signals, other road and sidewalk problems as well as damaged trees on City property.

Residents are reminded that 911 is for emergencies only, including downed power lines. For all other incidents where police are required, call the non-emergency number at 416-808-2222.

For updates during an emergency event and other City of Toronto information, follow @TorontoComms on Twitter.

— Wynna Brown

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