Strong winds knock out power as cold front sweeps through parts of Ontario

At least 33,000 Ontario residents were without power on Saturday, one major utility said, as strong winds caused by a cold front buffeted most of the province’s southern and eastern regions as well as some areas in the north.

An online map from Hydro One showed almost 600 active outages as of mid-afternoon, mainly in southern and eastern Ontario.

Environment Canada advisories for the affected areas warned that winds with gusts up to 90 kilometres per hour were expected, including in the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, and the Niagara region.

“That’s pretty much what happened,” said Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with the weather agency.

“A very strong cold front … was responsible for the strong gusts across Southern Ontario,” he said.

One of the highest wind gusts recorded Saturday was in Port Colborne, Ont., on the shores of Lake Erie, where wind speeds reached as high as 100 kilometres per hour.

Environment Canada said earlier that regions on the eastern shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in particular could see sporadic gusts exceeding 90 kilometres per hour coming off the water.

But the stormy conditions were relatively short-lived as they passed over the province, Kimbell said, adding areas battered by high winds should already be seeing local improvement.

“The peak winds were relatively brief, maybe an hour,” he said.

The cold front was moving east, Kimbell said, noting the active weather associated with it is expected to reach eastern Ontario and the province of Quebec as the afternoon progresses.

“Eastern Ontario and southern Quebec are in the crosshairs of (the cold front) later today,” he said.

The agency’s advisories for Ontario said winds are expected to gradually ease from west to east throughout the afternoon and into Saturday evening.

Environment Canada had previously said the winds could cause power outages and damage buildings.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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