Awaiting the Ice Storm of 1998?

Awaiting the Ice Storm of 1998?


Yesterday the snow never stopped, and then a coat of ice covered everything. It took me over 25 minutes just to be able to get the car into some sort of driving form. Of course the plow had gone by for the third time and the snow was up to my knees to get to the car.

I consider myself lucky as the neighbour cannot find her car. Yes, there is a car under that snow! We are now under a weather warning of an impending ice storm headed our way tomorrow. Are the weather professionals trying to scare us saying it might be like the Ice Storm of 1998? Let’s hope not!

In January 1998, 2 separate storms dropped up to 70mm of freezing rain on a wide area stretching from Eastern Ontario to Quebec and New Brunswick. The City of Montreal was one of the hardest hit areas. The weather forecasters predicted both storms and people knew they would be bad. But there was nothing one could do to prevent the ice forming, or the trees falling as it was happening. The storm left hydro towers caked with 70mm of ice and tonnes of weight. Many of these towers crumpled to the ground as if they were made with sheet metal. The power lines exploded brilliantly as they short cirucited, sending only darkness to thousands of homes. Only one main major power line in Montreal remained intact. Most of the 2 million citizens were left in darkness.

Many businesses in Montreal lost customers when ice sheets fell from buildings, making a trip downtown an added danger, whether there was power or not. For more than a week at least 700 000 people were without power. People in rural areas, despite the best efforts of Hydro Crews from across Canada the USA, were without power for a month.- Rene Schimdt


I don’t think anyone will ever forget the aftermath of that ice storm fifteen years ago. Bread rations, families sleeping on army cots in the local arena for weeks and farmers unable to milk their cows. Two deaths were reported in Ottawa, city neighbourhoods went dark, and states of emergency were declared everywhere. Let’s hope this upcoming storm tomorrow does not come even near to the last one.


Photo by Marg McNeely


Today the lineups at the local retail stores were off the hook. Of course Christmas is near but on several occasions I heard different people say:

‘We are just trying to beat the storm!’

But in all honesty can anyone beat the weather? Years ago in January it beat us.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s