News Canada

Severe Friday storm leaves Ontarians in dark

QMI Agency

More than 17,000 Ottawans have power again after severe storms damaged the electrical system in the nation’s capital Friday.

Hydro Ottawa said Saturday that “around the clock efforts are continuing to restore power to customers affected by numerous outages across the city” after high winds, fallen trees and lightning downed power lines.

At one point, more than 40,000 people in Ottawa and the Outaouais were in the dark as a wild storm that had blasted southern Ontario with torrential rains and hail passed through the region.

Ottawa’s fire department got a veritable flood of calls -- from possible fires sparked by lightning strikes to a sailboat overturning off the Nepean Sailing Club -- though none turned out to be serious.

On Friday, Environment Canada said it was investigating reports of a possible tornado that touched down north of Orillia, Ont.

The barrage of wind, rain, hail, thunder and lightning led to an Orillia man being taken to a Toronto trauma centre with critical injuries after a tree fell on him.

The man, 51, was found unconscious, but breathing, with a bike under a tree on the sidewalk on Jarvis Street in Orillia shortly after 9:30 p.m. by a city public works crew cleaning up debris, Orillia OPP Staff Sgt. Shawn Hewlett said.

He added the man was taken by ground ambulance to Toronto, adding it was unsafe for air ambulance to fly during Friday night’s weather conditions.

“This is a very unfortunate incident, very unfortunate,” Hewlett said. “He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Meanwhile, people in the Prairies were told to expect single digit highs beginning Monday.

On its site, Weather Network meteorologist Dayna Vettese said, "An arctic front will slide south ushering in the coldest air we've seen since before the summer. Temperatures will be cold enough that overnight we could get below freezing."

-- With files from Roberta Bell


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