Power Outages

Extreme high winds causes power outages across Manitoulin

MANITOULIN—The extreme high winds that continue to blow across Manitoulin Island and beyond wreaked havoc on the power grid this past Sunday and left almost 3,000 Island residents without power Monday morning.

Manitoulin Island was under an Environment Canada wind warning for much of the weekend with gusts of over 100 kilometres an hour causing drifting snow, downed power lines and zero visibility for drivers.

Photos shared on social media saw snowplows in ditches, vehicles stuck in snow drifts and blizzard-like conditions. Three of Manitoulin’s schools, Central Manitoulin Public School, Charles C. McLean Public School and Manitoulin Secondary School, were closed due to hydro outages and all school bus runs were cancelled that day.

On Monday, warming stations had been set up for residents in the following communities: Tehkummah, at the Tehkummah fire hall; Central Manitoulin, at the municipal office; and M’Chigeeng, at the band office and at the Wellness Centre. Much of Western Manitoulin was also without power, including Gore Bay. Sheshegwaning First Nation also provided citizens with a warming station at the community centre.

From Sunday to Monday, the Ontario Provincial Police closed two highways on Manitoulin. Highway 6 was closed Sunday from Little Current to South Baymouth for approximately seven hours due to winter road conditions. Highway 542 was down to one lane Monday near Spring Bay due to a disabled vehicle.

In the lead-up to the windstorm, many Islanders were doing a good business in the roof shovelling business as tales of structure collapse and roof leaks abound. (See Warren Schlote’s story (February 27th issue) about two Manitoulin residents’ stories of collapsed buildings due to snow loading.)

On Monday morning, over 40,000 Hydro One customers across Ontario were without power. The last of Manitoulin’s power was restored after midnight on Monday.