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Urban impacts of ice storms: Toronto December 2013


In late December 2013, Eastern Canada was hit by a severe ice storm that covered Southern Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes. Toronto, the largest city of Canada, was among the hardest hit. The freezing rain lasted for 3 days, leaving up to 30 mm coat of ice covering the ground and infrastructure. The urban forestry was badly hit as the ice accretion caused major tree failures and damage to the trees. Trees snapped as they were dormant and fragile during winter weather. In addition, tree limbs with branches heavily coated with ice brought down power lines. About 300,000 power customers (over a million people) were left without power for almost 3 days and tens of thousands for more than a week. The damages from the ice storm cost the city of Toronto over $106 million, while the cost of insured losses was in the range of $200 million. This short paper gives a brief overview of the ice storm, its impact on the city of Toronto, and the response and recovery measures that followed.

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The authors are very thankful to Mr. D. Baumken for his valuable insights and information on the event.

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Correspondence to Costas Armenakis.

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Armenakis, C., Nirupama, N. Urban impacts of ice storms: Toronto December 2013. Nat Hazards 74, 1291–1298 (2014).

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  • Ice storm
  • Power lines
  • Urban forestry
  • Toronto
  • Canada