Thousands left without power across US and Canada

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Utility crews from Maine to Michigan and into Canada worked Wednesday to restore power to the more than half a million homes in the U.S. and Canada that were left in the dark by last weekend's ice storm and people slowly trickled out of shelters to spend Christmas Day at their finally-warm homes.

The frigid temperatures that cloaked a region from the Great Lakes to New England meant that ice remained on power lines and limbs.

The ice storm last weekend was one of the worst to hit during a Christmas week. So far, authorities blame the storm for 27 deaths; 17 in the U.S. and 10 in Canada. Five people in Canada died from carbon monoxide poisoning from emergency generators powering their homes, while two people in Michigan, a man in Maine and a man in Vermont also died from the poisonous fumes.

In Michigan, police say a 73-year-old woman died Christmas Eve when she ran a stop light that was out of service because of the ice storm.

About 156,000 homes were still without power Wednesday evening in Michigan, down from more than 500,000 at the storm's peak.

In Canada, about 160,000 customers were without power Wednesday evening. There were 72,000 customers without power in Toronto, down from 300,000 at the height of the outages, and Mayor Rob Ford said some may not have power restored until the weekend.

Back in Maine, Trudy Lamoreau was supervising the emergency shelter where about 25 people stayed Tuesday night. Lamoreau, who's also the town manager, said they warmed the shelter with generators until the school got power back late Tuesday night. Maine still had about 60,000 people without power, down from a high of 106,000.

"People are doing quite well considering the circumstances," she said.

Volunteers tried to make the shelter homey, including cooking up a ham dinner with potatoes, vegetables, bread and pie for dessert for Christmas.

"They have been amazing," Walter said, adding that the volunteers set up a separate room for her and Leah so they wouldn't disturb others when the infant woke during the night. "They just try to make everything better for us."

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Associated Press writers David Goodman in Detroit and Rik Stevens in Concord, N.H., contributed to this report.

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