Woman rescued from flooded home as 'major wind storm' batters Hamilton, Niagara

Emergency crews rescued a 77-year-old woman from her home Sunday as ice and water pushed up by a "major wind storm" flooded several houses and caused road closures in the Hamilton and Niagara Region.

Fresh flurries will cause 'near zero' visibility for drivers

Norfolk County firefighters rescued a 77-year-old woman Sunday after her home in Port Dover flooded. (Norfolk County Fire Department/Twitter)

Emergency crews rescued a 77-year-old Port Dover, Ont. woman from her home Sunday as ice and water pushed up by a "major wind storm" flooded several houses and caused road closures.

Strong winds whipping through the Hamilton and Niagara Region have knocked down trees, tossed trailers and caused Ontario Provincial Police to slow traffic on both the Burlington and Garden City Skyways.

Environment Canada has issued both a wind warning and a blowing snow advisory for the area.

The same storm is expected to hit Toronto, Prince Edward County and points east later in the day

Rising water from Lake Erie surrounded a handful of homes in Port Dover and completely covered the road in some places, according to OPP Const. Ed Sanchuk.

"As a result a 77-year-old female had to be rescued by the fire department," he explained.

"They got their little dinghy out and were able to successfully remove her and I don't believe she suffered any injuries at all."

Provincial police are also slowing Skyway traffic for the "safety of travellers" and are asking everyone to drive with caution.

Brace yourself for a windy night

The wild weather started with thunderstorms in some parts of Ontario, said Mitch Meredith, an extreme weather metrologist with Environment Canada. That gave way to snow and gusting winds up to 110 km/h that have battered southern Ontario for most of the day — and they aren't expected to stop anytime soon.

"Believe it or not, it should be windy the entire night," said Meredith.

"Often with a very long wind event that's more than 12 hours you'll continue to see the trees breaking and maybe causing more power outages"

Some of the strongest winds have swept through Hamilton and the Niagara Region, tearing down tree branches and even a section of a building in Welland, Ont., according to the metrologist.

The collapsed wall was "associated with one of the peak wind gusts through the area," he explained. "That's very likely due to wind damage"

Along Lake Erie and Lake Huron the wind is predicted to be even stronger, gusting up to 120 km/h, according to the weather authority.

That's causing water levels to rise, ice to break up and even cause jams in some places, said Meredith.

Weather Network storm chaser Mark Robinson has been tracking the weather system.

In videos shot near the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, Ont. he describes a massive "ice shove" pushing frozen chunks up over a breakwall and onto the path.

The Niagara Parks Department has also closed the Niagara River Parkway as the wind and water hurls big hunks of ice over the retaining wall.

Potential for 'hundreds' of outages, warns Hydro One

Power outages are possible and the wind could also tear off shingles, break windows and toss loose objects, before it starts to diminish near midnight.

Hydro One has cautioned customers, saying their prediction tool is showing the storm could cause "hundreds of outages across southern, central and eastern Ontario."

The utilities supplier says it is already preparing crews to respond.

Alectra Utilities is also warning customers to prepare for outages by making sure the have a 72-hour emergency kit.

Contents of that kit should include:

  • Drinking water and food for three days.
  • A battery-powered or windup flashlight.
  • Blankets.
  • Toys and puzzles.
  • Required medicines. 

RBG cancellations and closures due to wind

Hamilton's Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is also bracing for the wind, battening down the hatches with closures and cancellations.

The RBG has shut down its Rock Garden and Hendrie Park because of the expected high winds.

A Back to Nature Hike planned for Sunday was also cancelled "due to weather conditions," according to the RBG's official Twitter account.

"Stay safe out there," it added.

Wind will die down Monday

Environment Canada is also warning blowing snow will sweep through the Hamilton area, causing "near zero visibility" in some places.

The snow is predicted to become an issue through the afternoon and into tonight due to flurries and strong winds from the west.

"Any fresh snow will be whipped up by the winds creating near whiteout conditions at times in blowing snow," it said. "Travel is expected to be hazardous due to reduced visibility."

Conditions will improve slowly Monday as the winds die down.

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