The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has released a new report indicating that the storm that hit Ontario late last month caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage.
Citing data from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification, the bureau said that the February 24-25 storm – which brought “damaging wind gusts, freezing rain and blizzard conditions” – caused more than $48 million in insured damage.
On February 24, the wind reached speeds of between 80 and 115 kilometres an hour, but peaked at 128 kilometres an hour in Port Colborne, Ontario. The gusts were so strong that they caused power outages and damage across southern Ontario, particularly in the Niagara and Hamilton regions. According to Hydro One, power outages affected more than 150,000 customers in the province.
Freezing rain later fell on the region overnight, followed by a blizzard. Thirty (30) centimetres of snowfall was recorded across northern Ontario, while the southern end experienced rain prior to the snow, which resulted in ponding and flooding.
February 25 saw its own share of severe weather issues. The strong winds from previous days persisted, and even caused a pile-up involving nearly 70 vehicles somewhere close to the Barrie, Ontario area.
IBC closed its report by advocating that “all levels of government increase their investment in mitigating the impact of extreme weather and building resiliency to its damaging effects.” The bureau is also campaigning for improved infrastructure to protect communities from disasters such as flood and fire, overhauled building codes, better land-use planning, and incentives to encourage the development of homes and businesses far from area of high flood risk.