TORONTO – A superstorm that hammered parts of Central and Eastern Canada with high winds and heavy rain is now petering out, though its effects will still be felt for days.
Post-tropical storm Sandy began to weaken Tuesday as it churned further inland after lashing the U.S. East Coast, leaving at least 17 people dead and millions without power and transit.
In Canada the storm brought strong winds and rain to southern Ontario and Quebec and a high amount of precipitation to the Maritimes.
A woman was killed in Toronto after she was hit by a falling sign.
At its height Sandy left 150,000 customers without power in Ontario and 50,000 in the dark in Quebec.
High winds continued to whip southern Ontario, particularly around Sarnia, and Quebec City, and warnings for gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour remain in place for those regions. The Bluewater Bridge border crossing in Sarnia saw closures for truck traffic during Tuesday morning.
Sandy brought mixed precipitation to northern Ontario, with snow, ice pellets and freezing rain around Timmins and Cochrane.
The Maritimes could see more than 50 millimetres of rain through Wednesday as Sandy moves east, but most of its precipitation will be from an unrelated system on Sandy’s fringes, according to Environment Canada.
Warning preparedness meteorologist Geoff Coulson said the worst may have passed for most of the central and eastern provinces, but the clouds aren’t parting just yet.
“It’s going to continue to linger because of the slow-moving nature of the storm at this point,” he said.
“We’re still going to be dealing with on and off shower activity through much of southern Ontario and southern Quebec during the course of the next few days.”
As of late Tuesday morning the storm was centred over western Pennsylvania and is expected to then drift north then east, fading away over the St. Lawrence Valley on Thursday, Coulson said.
“For the trick-or-treaters (Wednesday) evening — still dealing with that on-off shower activity and at least in southern Ontario temperatures a little cooler than seasonal by the time the kids head out,” he said.
Sandy began its path of destruction in the Caribbean, where 69 people were killed. In the U.S. the death toll climbed to 18, including several killed by falling trees.
New York was among the hardest hit, with its financial heart closed for a second day and seawater cascading into the still-gaping construction pit at the World Trade Center.
The storm caused the worst damage in the 108-year history of New York’s subway system, and there was no indication of when the largest U.S. transit system would be rolling again.
In New Jersey, Seaside rail lines were washed away and parts of the coast were still under water. President Barack Obama declared a major disaster in New York and Long Island, making federal funding available to residents of the area.
New York City’s three major airports remained closed. Flight cancellations were rampant at airports across Canada, with trips called off to cities in the U.S. northeast and beyond.