Three years ago - do you remember? The ice storm - that was in 2013 - the flood was in 2014

backgrounder 100By Staff

December 29th, 2016



Three years ago – do you remember?

The snow storm that turned into an ice storm hit the city a few days before Christmas 2013 and just wouldn’t stop.

ICE STORM Millar road closed

This was a public road. The ice storm closed Millar |Road along with driveways throughout North Burlington

The weather people at the time were predicting winds of 20 kmh – which in the world Gerry Smallegange, President of Burlington Hydro was not good news

The temperature hadn’t risen enough for enough of the ice on the trees in north Burlington to melt. If those tree branches start swaying in the wind they could come down on all those hydro lines he has had to re-build.

It was close to impossible to keep up with the demand for help Smallegange knew that he had thousands of homes in the city without power. Situations like this are not new to the people who supply homes with electricity – it was the sheer volume that came close to crippling the hydro people.

North Burlington wasn’t being ignored by any stretch – the scope and scale of the problem up there was brutal. Smallegange knew that he had a very significant problem on his hands and needed all the help he could get. He also needed a break in the weather – and that wasn’t happening.


A hydro wire down – waiting for crews to discover it and get it restrung. This was one of many that hydro had to deal with.

The ice that had built upon the hydro wires needed to melt – and the temperatures were staying at a stubborn six to ten degrees below zero.

The city’s Emergency Coordinating Committee was almost in constant session and doing their best to maintain a constant flow of information to city residents. The difficulty was that with no power radio and television were useless as was the internet and social media.

What worked best was neighbour telling neighbour and in the north – community meetings. The city held its first community meeting in Kilbride where hundreds showed up with questions. The city did its best – but at times that wasn’t good enough.

ICE storm 2 - room crowd

Hydro president Gerry Smallegange explaining to Kilbride residents where the crews were and when he hoped power could be returned to the community.

The lack of information was frustrating for the residents without power. Information, like energy, has to have lines it can flow through – and the available lines weren’t working all that well when it came to keeping people informed.

For reasons that are not clear at the time, the city’s communications department didn’t seem to have strong working relationships with the radio stations – which meant the people needing the information weren’t getting it from the radio stations – apparently because information wasn’t getting from the city to that media.

It all happened three years ago – we survived.

Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Comments are closed.