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Friday, May 27, 2022

Derechos devastates Peterborough County on Saturday


On Saturday afternoon, one of the most severe weather events that many can recall occurred across the GTA, into Peterborough County, and beyond.

According to The Weather Network, the event that occurred on Saturday was called a derechos.

A derechos is a widespread, straight-lined, wind storm which causes tornado like damage.

In Peterborough County, many people experienced the devastating effects of the derechos to varying degrees.

According to the Weather Network,  derechos of similar intensity have occurred before in this region of Canada, but never one that has followed the length of the most densely populated corridor in the country.

Damages from the storm included downed or uprooted trees, broken hydro poles, flipped cars, demolished buildings, barns and silos destroyed, roofs torn off buildings, and more.

Hydro One, along with other local utility services have been working since Saturday afternoon to regain power to over 300,000 customers.

They have stated that damages on their end include over 1000 broken poles and just as many downed power lines, along with countless trees and large branches causing power outages.

Hydro One said that is is critical to stay at least 10 meters back from fallen power lines, even if it does not appear to be live. Residents can report fallen lines to police or to Hydro One at 1-800-434-1235.

Though the storm wreaked havoc on infrastructure, the derecho also took a much more severe and heartbreaking toll on some.

The Peterborough Police Service has stated that a 61-year-old Lakefield man has succumbed to injuries suffered during the storm on Saturday May 21.

The Peterborough Police stated on Monday that they would like to thank the public for their help, patience and community as they start to recover from the storm on Saturday.

Members of the Peterborough County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are also investigating a fatal incident after a female was struck by a tree in North Kawartha Township.

According to a release sent out by the OPP, on May 21, 2022, at approximately 6:00 p.m., Peterborough County OPP and emergency services responded to a residence on Highway 28 in North Kawartha Township.

One person was struck by a fallen tree as a result of a significant weather event in the area.

A 64-year-old female from Cornwall, Ontario was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Members of the public are advised to avoid close proximity to any trees that may have been damaged by the storm, even if there is no visible sign of damage.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to call the Peterborough County OPP at 1-888-310-1122.

The severe weather event even caused the Township of Douro-Dummer to declare a state of emergency within their area.

They released a statement which read, “Township of Douro-Dummer has declared a State of Emergency following the severe storm that went through the Township on Saturday, May 21, 2022. This storm caused significant damage to property and there are widespread power outages. Many roads are closed throughout the Township.

“All available Public Works and Emergency Services personnel are working to remove trees and mitigate hazards created by downed power lines. At this point Hydro One has not determined an ETA to restore power in our area; residents should be prepared for a prolonged period without power.

“We ask for the public to stay off the roads as much as possible and avoid all downed power lines. Thank you for your co-operation while we work to restore travel routes in the Township.” Residents are also being asked to be cautious not only of downed wires and debris from the storm but of scammers trying to profit off of it.

A scam is circulating in the Peterborough region via text message to residents within the city of Peterborough.

The scam comes through via text message claiming to be from the City of Peterborough, offering $100 for the inconvenience of the power outage with a link to claim the money. Residents are being asked to be cautious and not to click on any suspicious links from people they don’t know.  

Many communities are still feeling the effects of the storm from Saturday as of our press date. Please contact your local municipalities or Hydro One for updates.