Cleanup from Saturday's deadly storm will last into June in Kitchener, Cambridge, Waterloo

Cleanup could continue for several weeks across the tri-cities from Saturday’s devastating storm which left at least 10 people dead in Quebec in Ontario.

One of the victims was Shelby Humble-Neale, 27, of Brantford, who the OPP said died after a tree stuck a trailer at Pinehust Conservation area when the storm struck shortly after noon.

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The sudden storm surged through the region on Saturday shortly after lunch, as it left just under 20,000 people without power in Kitchener and Wilmot, Kitchener-Wilmot Hydro spokesperson Kelly McMath told Global News in an email.

She said there were around 2,000 people who were still without power by midnight on Saturday.

“Crews worked through the day on Sunday and by Sunday night most customers in Kitchener had power restored, except for a couple of streets where there were still trees or broken poles and some individual homes still out, and the New Dundee/Petersburg area in Wilmot Township where the wind brought down about a dozen poles and their powerlines,” McMath explained.

She said that the last remaining customers without power in New Dundee and Petersburg had their power turned back on by 2 a.m. on Tuesday.

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Thousands still without power after storm in Ontario, Quebec that left at least 10 dead

A spokesperson for Waterloo North Hydro (which serves Waterloo, Wellesley and Woolwich) said that the impact on those areas was much quieter with about 9,000 people left without power.

Jeff Quint said that all major pockets were restored by Saturday evening and on Sunday the rest had been taken care of.

The situation was much worse down in Cambridge where the local energy utility, GrandBridge Energy, also serves North Dumfries, Brantford and Brant County.

A spokesperson for the company told Global News that there were around 40,000 people left without power including 36,500 in Cambridge and North Dumfries.

“The high winds on May 21 caused large trees and branches to fall on powerlines across our service territory,” Sheri Ojero told Global News. “In addition to downed powerlines and trees on branches, the wind caused broken wood poles and damaged other GrandBridge Energy equipment.”

As of Tuesday morning, Ojero said around 40 customers were still without power.

While the power has been turned on across the northern portions of Waterloo Region, that does not mean that the job is done.

Kitchener, Waterloo and Cambridge say they are still working to clean up the rest of the mess the storm left behind as trees and their branches were left strewn across the three cities.

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Both the cities of Kitchener and Cambridge told Global News that the work to clear away branches will last well into next month.

“The city has to prioritize the work because of the volume,” Kitchener spokesperson Shawn Falcao said.

“Right now, crews are addressing the dangerous and urgent requests. Beginning May 30 crews will be collecting debris and addressing other impacted streets.”

He said that residents should contact the city if they have emergency debris that needs to be dealt with.

“Residents can bring storm debris to their boulevard or curb for collection. Storm debris must be separated from regular waste collection, and it should not block sidewalks or road access,” Falcao explained.

It is a similar situation down south in Cambridge.

“Crews are working throughout the city to clear branches and trees from roads, sidewalks, and yards and will place them on boulevards over the coming days and weeks,” said Michael Hausser, the city’s director of operations.

“Crews will return to remove what is piled on the boulevards in the coming days and weeks.”

He said the city is continuing to assess the damage and will likely not have a timeline for when the cleanup will be completed until later in the week.

Up in Waterloo, they also reported a similar story, with the city receiving over 100 calls for service.

“We ask residents to please be patient as city crews work through cleanup operations, we expect the work will take several weeks, Cari Van Niekirk said in an email.

— with files from Global News and The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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