Storm cleanup continues in Waterloo region

Power has now been fully restored in Waterloo region after a long weekend storm that was anything but normal.

The last hydro hookups were completed Tuesday afternoon, but the cleanup will continue for a few more days.

At the peak of the damage, Kitchener Wilmot Hydro says one-fifth of its customers lost power, that’s roughly 21,000 homes. As of Tuesday morning, about 50 customers just west of Victoria Park were still in the dark.

The power outage also forced Kitchener’s largest secondary school, St. Mary’s High School, to close Tuesday.

WORKING AROUND THE CLOCK

Arborists and roofers have also been busy.

“We’ve been working like crazy and the problem is you just don’t know when to stop. We’ve been working till 10, 11 o’clock at night,” said arborist Joe Legat. “I haven’t seen my family in three days and I’m sleeping in the same house as them.”

Legate said he received over 100 calls in the last two days and is triaging the calls according to damage.

He advises homeowners take a look around their properties and be extra careful as cleanup continues.

One local roofing company said they've also received over 100 calls and that some of the damage they’ve seen caught them by surprise.

“Our reaction is like ‘wow,’” said Sam Qadami with Brother’s Roofing, referencing a building behind him. “As soon as we got here me and my brother were like ‘oh my goodness, this is mad, this is crazy.’

"We have a couple crews out, emergency crews, and then we had to come out and do some repairs because we're just getting too many calls."

The City of Cambridge had to call in workers during the long weekend to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

“It was a little tougher to get some people out than usual,” said Mike Hausser, director of operations for the City of Cambridge. “But we had a really strong core team that came out with 12 staff responding yesterday so that was terrific.”

WHAT DO I DO NOW?

 

Some roofing companies estimate it could take weeks to get through all the repairs, with costs ranging from a few hundreds of dollars up to thousands.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada tells CTV News Kitchener there's no need for homeowners to panic.

"Wind is typically covered under home insurance, tenant insurance, and condo insurance policies," said Anne Marie Thomas of the bureau.

Thomas reminds residents to keep repair receipts, as insurance companies usually reimburse people for damage caused by extreme wind, flying debris, or fallen trees.

"They may have preferred companies that they deal with and can connect you with them," said Thomas. "Others may say find an arborist, find us a roofer and send us the bill."

STAYING OPTIMISTIC

Meanwhile one Kitchener resident who lost power for three days and had several large branches land on his shed and take out part of his chimney is staying optimistic.

“We spent the last three nights at the neighbours across the street who had power and kind of had to discover life before the Internet a bit, which is probably the upside of all this,” he said. “[It was] kind of fun to just sit around and talk to people instead of spending a night watching movies like we’ve been doing the whole pandemic.”