Time's running out!
Officials are beginning to tally the damage of a tornado that ripped through the Ottawa area yesterday, sending several people to hospital and levelling buildings. No fatalities or missing persons have been reported.
Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning as a result of the twister, which blew through Ottawa, Dunrobin, Ont., and Gatineau, Que., late Friday afternoon. At a press conference Saturday morning, the distribution company said it expects the outage will be "multi-day," although it was not able to provide an estimate on when power may return to area homes.
The agency tweeted drone footage on Saturday morning showing a mass of hydro towers, trees and power lines felled by the storm. The footage below was recorded by Ottawa Rooftops on Facebook, and posted early Saturday morning.
Meantime, Hydro−Quebec said 114,000 customers were affected by outages in that province.
Damage from the storm is major — roofs have been torn off homes and cars were overturned on Highway 50 — and the cleanup was just beginning on Saturday morning.
Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud−Jobin says 215 buildings were damaged or destroyed, and a total of 1,686 homes were affected.
The Ottawa Hospital said in a tweet last night that it was treating six people with injuries related to the tornado. The hospital said two patients were in critical condition, one had serious injuries, and the others were listed as either stable or in fair condition.
Officials warned people not to re−enter their homes until they had been deemed safe.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said the tap water in Ottawa remains safe to drink. Officials are advising residents to collect enough supplies for their homes for three days.
The disaster is being compared to the 1998 ice storm, which left nearly 1.5 million Ontario and Quebec homes without power and caused more than $5 billion in damage.