Saturday’s devastating storm has led to the City of Peterborough declaring a state of emergency.
Mayor Diane Therrien stated Wednesday morning that she and the city’s emergency management team had notified the province of the decision.
“People think the city has a lot more power than it does to be able to solve that overnight,” Therrien said.
“The city is doing what it can and we’re calling on our partners to help out, and we’re working together to work through it and get to the recovery stage.”
The state of emergency gives the municipality flexibility when working around normal governmental processes, she said.
“Government doesn’t always work the fastest,” Therrien said.
“So, we’re able to call in different partners rather than go through a procurement process, to say, we need this kind of equipment, we need these kinds of people.”
The declaration also gives the ability to be able to make better decision-making when it comes to what is going on in the city, she said.
When asked how long the state of emergency would last for, Therrien said she could not even offer a ballpark estimate.
Hydro One is estimating full restoration of power to most customers in Peterborough city and to some others in the county by 11 or 11:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Crews are working to restore power to more than 150,000 Ontario customers who are still without hydro after a deadly storm swept through the province on Saturday.
More than 98,000 Hydro One customers are still without power. As of Wednesday morning, Hydro Ottawa said it is working on restoring power to about 65,000 customers.
At least 10 people died — including four in the Peterborough area — and other communities — including Douro-Dummer Township — declared states of emergency after the storm that down trees, brought down power lines and damaged property.
Some schools without power in Peterborough city and county remained closed Wednesday although a few that didn’t have power Tuesday were able to reopen Wednesday.
Saturday’s storm was a derecho, which is a widespread long-lived windstorm associated with a line of thunderstorms. It developed near Sarnia late Saturday morning and tracked northeastward over southern Ontario, crossing Ottawa Saturday afternoon, according to Environment Canada. Damaging wind gusts were reported over a large swath of southern Ontario as the severe thunderstorms raced through.
Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project Team has officially confirmed an EF2 tornado was embedded within the leading edge of the derecho at about 1:15 p.m. in Uxbridge and was found to have a maximum wind speed of 195 km/h.
The same team confirmed that maximum winds of 190 km/h hit southern Ottawa.
Environment Canada has not yet said what the wind speed was in Peterborough since the storm appears to have knocked out the weather recordings at Peterborough Airport.
Wind gusts of 132 km/h were recorded at the Kitchener-Waterloo Airport, 120 km/h at both Ottawa International Airport and Toronto Pearson International Airport, 110 km/h at Toronto Buttonville Airport, 89 km/h at the Oshawa Airport and 83 km/h at Trenton.
More than 1 million customers with Hydro One, Ottawa Hydro and other southern Ontario utilities were initially without power following the storm.
Peterborough County announced Wednesday that the county’s Victoria Park on Water Street in Peterborough has been closed to the public until further notice for cleanup after trees and large branches fell during Saturday’s storm.
Crews will also assess whether any other of the park’s majestic trees were weakened and compromised by the storm.
There are also broken branches within the trees that need to be removed.
“Safety of visitors to the park is our priority,” Warden J. Murray Jones stated.
“Once Victoria Park is cleaned up and staff feel it is safe to reopen, we will advise. Thanks in advance for your patience while this work happens.”