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Flashback: The 1998 Ice Storm That Left People Without Power For WEEKS

Thursday, February 23, 2017 9:12
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When you think of natural disasters that could interrupt the
power grid, you probably think of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods.
However, it was a massive ice storm that left millions of Canadians
and some Americans without electricity and heat for a period of
days to weeks in 1998.

Known as the Great Ice Storm of 1998 or the North American Ice
Storm of 1998, the huge January weather event was really a
combination of five smaller ice storms that struck a narrow
geographic band that stretched from eastern Ontario to southern
Quebec and Nova Scotia and included a section of northern New York
and central Maine. Upwards of three inches of ice fell in some

The storm’s wrath killed 35, injured 945 and displaced about
600,000 people. Additionally, the resulting widespread power outage
affected 1.4 million people in Québec and nearly 240,000 people in
eastern Ontario. The total financial cost of the storm is estimated
in excess of $5 billion.

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People were without power for anywhere from several days to
several weeks, and, in a few instances, several months, as Canadian
workers scrambled to reconstruct the power grid in the wake of the
damaging ice.


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