Storm 1998 was just the beginning of disasters for the Chateauguay Valley.
Global climatic fluctuations, blamed on "El Nino", wreaked havoc locally.
January, a freezing rain fell for several days paralyzing a corridor along
the Quebec-USA border. Trees and utility poles snapped under the weight
of the accumulated ice. Fallen electrical transmission towers left rural
regions without heat for up to 6 weeks during the coldest period of winter.
the lights went out and the furnace quit at home, our family sought refuge
for 11 days at the home of friends who have gas stoves. We ate well by
using up our freezer meats that would have otherwise spoiled without power,
and by cooking outdoors on the gas barbecue grill.
put aside political differences during the crisis and worked together in
survival mode. Many heroic and generous acts took place to provide food
and shelter as electrical workers and the Canadian Armed Forces worked
overtime to rebuild the power grid.
were all weary from digging out driveways with picks and shovels, draining
water pipes so they wouldn't freeze, caring for cold pets and infants and
the elderly. Yet, I forced myself to get out and photograph as much of
this historic event as possible.
workers chip ice from pylon while volunteer fireman shows fatigue.
infant's sled gets a lift in St. Isidore;
squirrel takes refuge beneath a transformer.
buds encased in ice.
1998 followed in the aftermath of the ice storm. The large accumulation
of snow on top of fields glazed with ice sent spring melt waters directly
into the streams. There was little warning for towns like Howick and St.
Martine and homes built in the 100-year flood plain.
residents are used to some high water when the river ice melts. But as
one farmer near St. Chrysostome said about this year's thaw, "We found
out that we all live in the flood plain."
truck submerged on North River Road.
to deliver a pump at Allan's Corners; and Rte. 138 traffic at St. Martine.
near St. Urbain, Quebec.
See more at www.icestormphotos.com
copyright by Phil Norton 1998.