Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Sandy lashes Canada with winds, heavy rain

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TORONTO -- A superstorm that hammered parts of Central and Eastern Canada with high winds and heavy rain started petering out Tuesday, though its effects will still be felt for days.

Post-tropical storm Sandy began to weaken as it churned farther inland after lashing the U.S. East Coast, leaving more than 45 people there dead and millions without power and transit.

In Canada, the storm brought strong winds and rain to southern Ontario and Quebec and promised a high amount of precipitation for the Maritimes. By Tuesday afternoon, the storm had lost its post-tropical characteristics.

Sandy left 150,000 customers without power in Ontario, 50,000 in the dark in Quebec and 14,000 in Nova Scotia.

High winds continued to whip southern Ontario, particularly around Sarnia, and Quebec City. Warnings for gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour remained in place Tuesday for those regions. The Bluewater Bridge border crossing in Sarnia saw closures for truck traffic Tuesday morning.

A woman was killed in Toronto after she was hit by a falling store sign. The strongest wind gust reported in Toronto was 91 km/h, reported at the city's downtown island airport, according to preliminary data from the Canadian Hurricane Centre.

The strongest gust in the province was 106 km/h on Western Island in Georgian Bay, the centre reported. In Quebec, gusts reached 87 km/h in Laval and Orleans.

On Tuesday night, northeastern Ontario was bracing for Sandy, which was to hit the area with snow, mixed with ice pellets, and patchy freezing rain driven by gusts of up to 60 km/h.

Ontario Provincial Police were advising residents in the path of the storm to keep their cellphones charged and have a three-day emergency kit ready. The most precipitation from Sandy came in the Charlevoix region of Quebec, where 55 millimetres of rain fell.

The Maritimes could see more than 50 millimetres of rain through today as Sandy moves east, but most of its precipitation will be from an unrelated system on Sandy's fringes, Environment Canada said.

Warning preparedness meteorologist Geoff Coulson said the worst may appear to 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.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 31, 2012 A5

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