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Tree casualties of the 1998 ice storm

Canadians had never before endured a natural disaster like the ice storm of 1998. A difficult morning of car scraping quickly turned into a state of emergency from eastern Ontario to southern Quebec. Millions huddled in the dark by their fireplaces. Many suffered from hypothermia and carbon monoxide poisoning. Heavy ice sheets toppled huge power pylons and in just six days an electrical system that took decades to create was razed.

Pierre Emil Rocray, a tree pathologist at Montreal's tourist-attracting Mount Royal Park, says the city's going to look a lot different because of all the tree casualties. Rocray and Luana Parker, a producer at CBC Radio's This Morning take a dangerous walk in the park to assess the damage. They find a dreadful scene of fallen trees and branches. It looks like a hurricane ripped through the park.

They carry an umbrella to protect them from falling branches. One inch of ice over a tree branch strains it by forcing it to support three or four times its original weight. Wood cracks and icy branches crash onto the umbrella.
• The ice storm destroyed millions of trees.
• The damage devastated maple sugar bush farmers. Sixty-five per cent of trees in areas affected by the storm were destroyed causing syrup production to fall 15 per cent. Some lost their sugar bush permanently.
Medium: Radio
Program: This Morning
Broadcast Date: Jan. 9, 1998
Guest(s): Pierre Emil Rocray
Host: Avril Benoît
Reporter: Luana Parker
Duration: 7:24

Last updated: January 18, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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