Tens of thousands without power as spring storm moves east in Ontario

The icy spring storm that swept through southern Ontario cut power to more than 300,000 people since it began over the weekend.

Hydro One said those in dark due to extreme weather that hit Saturday and lasted into Monday, included 30,000 customers in southwestern Ontario, 20,000 customers in central Ontario and 45,000 customers in eastern Ontario. The number of outages increased in the east on Monday, as a rainfall warning remains in place for much of the area. 

The provincial utility provider said late Monday 50,000 customers remain in the dark due to some 500 outages. 

"We're still restoring power to a lot of customers who were affected by the storm throughout the weekend," Nancy Clark, spokesperson for Hydro One, told CBC Toronto.

Toronto Hydro crews are also working to restore power to some 700 customers in the city. 

Blue Jays game postponed

The CN Tower, a Toronto landmark, was closed on Monday due to the extreme weather.

And the Toronto Blue Jays postponed a Monday night game against the Kansas City Royals after ice chunks that fell from the nearby CN Tower punched holes of up to 1.24-metres wide in the Rogers Centre roof.

While it's not "uncommon" for the dome to suffer weather damage, Andrew Miller, the team's executive vice-president of business operations, said staff "have never seen anything like this" in nearly 30 years since the stadium opened. 

"It sounded like fireworks or some sort of explosion going off," he said at an evening news conference. 

Toronto police said no injuries have been reported due to the falling ice, but the entrances to the CN Tower, Rogers Centre and nearby streets are blocked off.

The Blue Jays said crews are working to repair damage to the Rogers Centre roof and are assessing the conditions with the CN Tower and Toronto Police Service.​

This is the latest in a stream of damages from this weekend's ice storm that brought freezing rain, ice pellets, high winds and heavy rain overnight. This led to snapped limbs from trees laden with ice, and downed power lines and poles.  

Environment Canada, meanwhile, has ended the freezing rain and rainfall warnings for Toronto, noting "significant" rainfall should be tapering off Monday.

Fixing poles, restringing wire

Clark, the Hydro One spokesperson, said crews are "out in full force today."

"We've been out in full force all weekend as well, restoring power to customers, fixing broken poles, restringing wire and cleaning tree limbs that have fallen down off the wires so power can be restored."

As for Toronto Hydro, spokesperson Tori Gass said the outages are scattered throughout the city. As some outages are restored, others are occurring so there is fluctuation in the numbers of customers out. Crews are turning their attention to smaller areas now, she said.

The number of outages increased after 6 p.m. Sunday and reached a peak around 3 a.m. Monday.

At the height of the storm, Gass said Toronto Hydro had 44,000 customers without power in Toronto due to some 425 outages across the city.

According to Environment Canada, the storm produced 18 hours of ice pellets, six hours of freezing rain, 10 hours of rain from Saturday morning to Monday afternoon. The rain in the city came on Sunday night.

Toronto's Pearson International Airport recorded a total water equivalent of 79 millimetres while Billy Bishop Airport recorded 65 millimetres. Winds gusted as high as 96 km/h at Billy Bishop Airport on Sunday afternoon. 

Highway 400 reopens near Barrie

The conditions have also been causing problems for drivers and commuters.

Ontario Provincial Police reported more than 200 crashes in the Greater Toronto Area on Monday and over 1,600 in the GTA and surrounding area on the weekend.

"We've got sheets of ice covering many parts of highways. We have multiple collisions involving transport trucks," said OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt in a video posted to Twitter. 

All northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 400 were closed for hours between Maple View Drive and Innisfil Beach Road due to a crash involving a transport truck, OPP said. The highway has now reopened.

Storm disrupts air travel

The storm also played havoc with air traffic.

At Toronto's Pearson International Airport, 139 arriving flights and nearly 100 departing flights were cancelled Monday, with 11 arriving flights already cancelled tomorrow. Over the weekend, more than 600 flights were cancelled and many others were delayed.

Toronto's downtown Billy Bishop airport cancelled all departing flights on Sunday and cancelled both 36 arriving and departing flights Monday.