90s, History
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North American Ice Storm of 1998

Diary of Disaster

In retrospect of the minor (read: very minor) ice storm Ontario just experienced, I wanted to shed light on the massive ice storm that crippled Quebec and parts of Ontario, Eastern Canada and even areas bordering New York and Central Maine in January of 1998.

I need not explain the intricacies and unpredictability of the weather, so I won’t. All you need to know is large amounts of freezing rain fell for a very long time, coating affected areas with upwards of 120mm of thick ice. What follows are some pictures demonstrating the damage:

Ice Storm 1

Ice Storm 2

Ice Storm 3

Ice Storm 4

Ice Storm 5

Ice Storm 6

Power was lost in some areas for up to a month. Roads were impassable. Hydro lines completely iced over and in some cases brought to the ground. Trees were toppled, vehicles immobilized in place and thousands of humans frozen in their tracks – including 25 fatalities due to hypothermia. The Canadian Forces deployed over 15,000 personnel to assist in the recuperation process. It was the largest deployment ever of military personnel in response to a natural disaster and most in general since the Korean War.

So next time a bit of freezing rain falls on your area, delaying your plans, take a moment to reflect on the devastation of the North American Ice Storm of 1998 and consider yourself grateful.

Ice Storm 8

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