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Aftermath of severe storm continues

Business owner says power outage is costly

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Power outages continued for thousands of residents and business owners Tuesday following a severe thunderstorm on the weekend.

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The storm hit Sunday night damaging trees and causing extensive power outages.

Port Rowan and Langton areas appeared to be among the hardest hit. Several schools were closed in the area on Monday and Tuesday.

Jeff Wiggans, owner of Clover Farm Wiggans Food store in Port Rowan, estimates he has lost about $30,000 in spoiled food due to the power outage.

Wiggans is critical of Hydro One, saying in the last two years he has faced $100,000 in lost product due to poor hydro services from the company.

“We still have to function within the store even though we’re closed, we have to restock shelves and stuff, freezers are still down, you call them and you get short answers and I’m frustrated.”

Wiggans has no backup generators within the store due to space constraints and says his insurance company does not cover the loss of product to power outages because they know it will happen.

Wiggans says it could take a year or two for the store to recover from its $30,000 loss from this week’s outage.

The storm also caused considerable damage that could reach $20,000 to the Gator BBQ food trailer rigs parked outside Jonny K’s fresh produce.

“The banner poles are bent right back, that’s all welded together. We have been doing this for over 20 years and we never experienced the storms that we have in this past summer,” said Linda Butterworth, office manager at Gator BBQ.

“We’ve never seen this, our rigs are built to withstand grand rain,” she said. “It shouldn’t have happened the way it did but that storm was intense, it hit really fast and furious.”

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Nobody was hurt or present at the site when the storm struck.

“Personally, I’m down by the Silver Hill area. I had live wires dangling, a fire in front of my house. My road is still closed, I have no hydro,” said Butterworth. “We have trees that are toppled over. It was so loud, it sounded like a train. I have been here for many years and I’ve never seen or heard that much, that fast and it left a path of destruction.”

“Hydro One crews continue to respond to power outages in southern Ontario caused by heavy rain, high winds and thunderstorms, with additional crews continuing to support restoration efforts in the hardest hit areas. The storm caused significant damage, including broken poles and cross-arms. While local weather conditions did impact restoration efforts in some areas, crews have restored power to nearly 60, 000 customers,” Hydro One posted on its Storm Centre site on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, about 1,500 customers in Norfolk were still without power. The estimated time of restoration varied up to 11 p.m. that evening.

“Our outage tools are updated every 10 minutes as information comes in from crews on-the-ground,” said a message on the Storm Centre site.

A team from the Northern Tornadoes Project was dispatched to the Norfolk, Tillsonburg and Park Hill area to determine whether a tornado passed through. Environment Canada is currently waiting on the assessment.

Steven Flisfeder, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, says the lightning was prolific during Sunday night’s storm but it’s not considered to be unusual.

Flisfeder also says there are no wind estimates as of right now, but rainfall ranged between 15 to 30 millimeters.

He advises Norfolk County residents to observe weather reports and warnings for late Tuesday and overnight.

“Today is a day people should be paying attention to any watches or warnings in Norfolk County, particularly tonight. From evening to overnight there’s potential for another round of thunderstorms; it’s important for people to be weather aware for tonight,” he said.

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