Ottawa gets a big miss from Sandy

Hurricane Sandy let Eastern Ontario off easy.

Despite overnight wind gusts of 74 km/h, post-tropical storm Sandy has weakened considerably and is now “basically just a regular low-pressure system situated over central to western Pennsylvania,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell.

Overnight rain was minimal.

“We got 0.4 mm, which is less than we were expecting,” said Kimbell. “We knew rainfall would not be the big issue for us.”

The system gave the New Jersey coastline a beating on Monday, flooding New York City, halting the subway system, closing the New York Stock Exchange for two consecutive days, and affecting the U.S. presidential campaign.

At least 12 people were reportedly killed along the eastern seaboard — including a woman in Toronto. The woman in her 50s died after being struck in the head by a Staples store sign.

The storm has also left an estimated 6 million Americans without electrical power.

Across the province, Emergency Management Ontario was reporting more than 147,000 customers this morning without power due to heavy winds causing downed trees and power lines.

Southern Ontario saw stronger wind gusts on Monday night, with Sarnia clocking 100 km/h, Burlington close behind at 95 km/h, and Toronto at 80 to 90 km, Kimbell said.

Waterloo, Peterborough, and Owen Sound were also hit hard, minister of energy Chris Bentley said a statement.

Back at home, strong winds fuelled a rural east end porch blaze, which had fire screws scrambling.

A call came in at 1:07 a.m. for a fire at 5241 Saumure Rd., near Vars, between Russell Rd. & Devine Rd. Firefighters aggressively attacked the flames, extinguishing the blaze before it extended into the attached house.

Early estimates pegged damage at $25,000 and the cause is under investigation.

The storm will continue to move northward Tuesday night Wednesday into Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec, “but that’s really kind of irrelevant,” said Kimbell.

Because it had a tropical origin, the warm air has “what we call ‘wrapped itself’ all the way around to the Maritime provinces and Quebec, and even Eastern Ontario, which is why, if you go outside, we’re relatively warm,” Kimbell said.

Tuesday morning was 14C — warm for October, considering the average high is 8C, said Kimbell.

Showers are expected from Tuesday through Thursday “and then we cool down substantially on Friday,” said Kimbell, with a high of 2C.

Weather along the eastern seaboard continues to affect air travel.

An advisory was issued by the Ottawa International Airport Authority. Most flights to and from New York, Toronto, Newark, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia, and Halifax were cancelled Tuesday.

http://www.ottawasun.com/2012/10/30/ottawa-gets-a-big-miss-from-sandy

Travellers should check with carriers before heading to the airport.

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