Ice Ice Baby

It’s official, we’ve experienced another first on our journey. Last night, we had no electricity due to the insane storm that has been raging here in the north since Thursday.

Ice rain, friends, is a bitch. If those of you back in sunny South Africa thought the worst thing that can possibly happen in Canada is a few centimetres of snow and maximum temperatures of around minus 20 degrees Celcius, think again. Ice rain takes the gold. Especially when every shop front display of snow shovels and deicers have been replaced with rows of barbeques and folks have started exchanging their winter tyres for summer tyres.

Throw in a power outage and everything is a delayed, sludge-covered mess.

Now, as a Johannesburg native, power outages don’t really freak me out. We used to live right on the edge of two municipalities, so when the load shedding started, we often had double slots on the no-power schedule. (Load shedding? This thing where they turned off our electricity for 4 hours at a time, on a specific schedule, due to too much strain on the grid.)

Having said that, we had no idea how a power outage paired with a storm could affect a city’s like Toronto’s infrastructure. Since this weather is so unusual for this time of the year, only some of the municipal snow ploughs are functional, which means only the main roads have been cleared. The residential roads are still covered in a few centimetres of compacted ice, with sludge tracks where cars have ploughed their own way. The sidewalks are too slick to walk on. In fact, it looks as if everything has been covered with a layer of clear plastic wrap, and is treacherously slippery. Some trains have been replaced with shuttles, some schools are closed for the day and large areas are still without power.

This has been an extreme learning curve for those of us who have never experienced ice rain before. We watched in awe as droplets of rain froze to our windows at impact, and stayed there for the rest of the day, giving a new meaning to frozen glass. There’s a block of solid ice on our car’s roof, stuck between the roof racks. And speaking of the car, my husband struggled for about 20 minutes this morning to thaw it enough to open the doors and see through the windshield. 🙂

The ice is supposed to melt today, and the rain falling now is of the regular variety–nothing is freezing on the windows. I seriously hope it lasts. This entire experience has been really weird.

Still, I’m thankful that I can write this post, snuggly inside our home. For those of you also affected by the storm, be safe and stay warm. My thoughts are with everyone who is without electricity, or who have no shelter.



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