Peterborough Examiner: Four dead after storm in Peterborough County and surrounding area

Peterborough Examiner
Credit: Peterborough Examiner

To mark World News Day on September 28, 2022, the World News Day campaign is sharing stories that have had a significant social impact. This particular story, which was shared by the Peterborough Examiner, was first published on May 22, 2022.

When the May 12 windstorm hit parts of Ontario, the Examiner was the only media outlet in the area able to access electricity and working internet. For the next several days, our regularly updated news let people know where to go for help or support, what services were cancelled or available, and the status of repair and cleanup efforts.

City police reported Monday that a 61-year-old Lakefield man died Saturday after being hit by a falling tree near his home.

It was the fourth death in the area linked to the sudden storm.

Peterborough County OPP are investigating after a woman was struck by a tree in North Kawartha Township.

Emergency crews were called to a home on Highway 28 at about 6 p.m. Saturday.

A 64-year-old woman from Cornwall was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call 1-888-310-1122.

OPP also report that a 74-year-old woman was killed by a falling tree in Port Hope Saturday.

Durham police said a man, 30, died after he was hit by a falling tree in the Ganaraska Forest Saturday.

The storm hit shortly after an emergency alert, including a phone text message was issued at 1:20 p.m. Saturday. Environment Canada warned of a “life-threatening” storm and urged people to take cover.

Environment Canada estimates the winds hit 132 kilometres per hour in some areas. The storm swept easterly from Western Ontario into Quebec.

The weather agency is looking into whether a tornado touched down.

Hydro One tracks outages online.

Trees and branches fell all over Peterborough city and county, downing power lines, and most of the city was without power Saturday and Sunday. Many stores had to close on a busy long weekend Saturday.

There are pockets of the city in the south end with electricity, meaning some stores were open Sunday and traffic lights were working.

By later Sunday afternoon, the city reported that power was being restored in some areas, and the city’s water treatment plant had its power restored after operating on a backup since the outage. Water is safe to drink the city advises. The power is back on at the city wastewater plant, too.

Damaged houses and uprooted trees are visible in most city neighbourhoods, with an early estimate from the city indicated that hundreds of trees may have been lost.

Hydro One has stated it may take days to restore electricity.

Peterborough County

The Township of Douro-Dummer declared a state of emergency Sunday, with widespread damage reported and many closed roads.

“All available Public Works and Emergency Services personnel are working to remove trees and mitigate hazards created by downed power lines,” the township stated.

“At this point Hydro One has not determined an ETA to restore power in our area; residents should be prepared for a prolonged period without power. We ask for the public to stay off the roads as much as possible and avoid all downed power lines.”

Power remained working in Bridgenorth, which saw long lines of vehicles outside the village’s gas stations.

Hydro towers along Highway 7 on the western edge of the city were down, and several poles along Highway 7 between Peterborough and Norwood had fallen. Hydro One and city Public Works trucks were out in force Sunday, with crews working to clear trees and branches and replace utility poles.

Tree damage in Norwood was extensive and the village remained without power Sunday midday.

“Members of the public are advised to avoid proximity to any trees that may have been damaged by the storm, even if there is no visible sign of damage,” OPP advise.

Concert cancelled

The Peterborough Memorial Centre postponed the Jann Arden concert scheduled for Sunday night, stating on social media that she’ll now perform June 1: “Due to power outages, and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of everyone in Peterborough, we have made the decision to postpone tonight’s show until June 1. All tickets will be honoured for the new date.”

Neighbouring areas

The storm did significant damage in Uxbridge, about 80 kilometres west of Peterborough in Durham Region, tearing roofs off buildings and flipping vehicles.

The possibility that a tornado touched down there is being looked at.

The township declared a state of emergency and asked people to stay off the roads.

“While the township assesses the damage, the public is asked to stay away from downed power lines and keep children and pets away from downed lines and fallen trees until the hazards can be addressed,” said Uxbridge Mayor Dave Barton in a statement shared on social media. “All available township staff are working as quickly as possible to reopen roads and remove tree hazards. We ask for your patience as work is underway. The public is asked to stay off the roads to help staff focus on the hazards rather than manage traffic congestion.”

There were some power outages in Cobourg and Port Hope but things were back on by Sunday morning.