The January 1998 Ice Storm Montreal, Quebec, Canada

All text and images copyrighted by Stephen McDonnell


Beginning Monday January 5 th 1998, an ice storm raged across a large area of North America. The eastern part of the Provinces of Ontario, most of Quebec, and Western New Brunswick were hit hard. The northern parts of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine were also hit hard. MAPS

Weather knows no national nor linguistic borders. It lasted 5 days and 4 nights and destroyed trees and electrical towers and poles. In some places the accumulated ice measured a foot thick. Electrical towers were crushed like toys, wood telephone and power poles were snapped like match sticks under the weight of the ice. Parts of the city of Montreal lost power for 1 to 11 days, during two days the water was declared undrinkable, and 3 bridges were closed. Shelters were opened for those who had lost power. The temperatures returned to normal after the freezing rain; cold.Twice the city came close to experiencing a total power and water pressure loss.

The South Shore of Montreal across the St Lawrence River, in an area called the black triangle, is still without power and is expected to remain so for the next one or two weeks till the end of January (more than 10,000 people are affected by this power outage). Over 15,000 Canadian troops have been called out to help reestablish order and electricity. As of Jan 23, the situation has returned to normal on the Island of Montreal but, more than three weeks after the storm hit, many homes in the black triangle area were still without power (some homes did not have power for over a month).

I have put these web pages up because I believe that this disaster has been underestimated and under-reported in the Press and TV. I believe it will finally end up costing many Billions of dollars over the next 10 years. I also believe there are lessons to be learned from what happened. I believe it is one of the first battles in an ecological war; and the enemy-as Pogo would lamely say-is us.

I do not want to alarm anyone, but to simply inform you of what I saw and experienced personally. All text and images are created by me unless otherwise noted. I have tried to be as accurate as possible, but with exhaustion and time, I have forgotten much, so please excuse any mistakes (Email me if you find a date or detail which you feel is wrong and I will do my best to correct it). Any opinion expressed here is my own, unless noted otherwise.

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