Storm update, May 25: Winds hit 190 km/h, City supports

Special to WC Online

WEST CARLETON – Researchers are reporting Saturday’s (May 21) derecho had some winds that reached 190 kilometres per hour.

Researchers at Western University say wind speeds reached a maximum 190 km/h during the powerful storm that swept through Ottawa over the long weekend, but a tornado never touched down. 

An investigation by the Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) shows a particularly intense downburst, not a tornado, was responsible for the damage during the storm. This weather event is commonly  known as a derecho. A downburst is a strong downward current of air, usually associated with intense rain or a thunderstorm.  The Weather Network describes a derecho as a group of thunderstorms that produces a swath of downburst winds causing intermittent damage along a path more than 600 km long and 100 km wide.

The NTP says the storm was measured as an EF-2 on a scale measuring the intensity of wind damage.

The cleanup from the storm is expected to last weeks, and as of 9 a.m. today, (May 25), more than 100,000 customers were still without power in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

City offers financial food aid support

 OTTAWA – The City of Ottawa will provide assistance for those who have lost food due to the fallout from the storm and need financial assistance.

“If you were affected by the power outage and are in need of financial help, you may complete an application for emergency assistance for loss of food and in exceptional circumstances for help with medication, medical supplies or personal care,” city staff released in a statement yesterday (May 24).

Applications for emergency assistance are completed online or over the phone.

  • Go to the online application for emergency assistance
  • Or call 311, select 1 for English or 2 for French and 4 for Social Services
  • City staff will complete an assessment to see if you qualify
  • If you are already in receipt of Ontario Works, please call your case worker directly

“The city has opened many emergency reception centres, providing washrooms, showers, a place to charge devices, Wi-Fi access and some offer food as well,” staff said.

For the latest locations and times, visit the city’s Storm Recovery webpage. You can also call 211 for a list of emergency food services.

Organic waste disposal

OTTAWA – Anticipating an increased need for disposing of spoiled food, the city has set up several sites where residents will have ongoing access to organics-only waste dumpsters.

“Several new sites have been established and more are being added,” city staff released in a statement yesterday (May 24).

Bins are in place and ready for use at the following locations:

  • Navan Memorial Centre at 1295 Colonial Road
  • CARDELREC Recreation Complex Goulbourn at 1500 Shea Road
  • Hunt Club-Riverside Park Community Centre at 3320 Paul Anka Drive
  • Howard Darwin Centennial Arena at 1765 Merivale Road
  • NEW: Walter Baker Sports Centre at 100 Malvern Drive
  • NEW: Minto Recreation Complex at 3500 Cambrian Road
  • NEW: Osgoode Community Centre at 5662 Osgoode Main Street
  • NEW: Orléans Library at 1705 Orléans Boulevard
  • NEW: Lincoln Fields at 2525 Carling Avenue 

Visit the Storm recovery webpage on for further location updates.

Damaged trees and brush

OTTAWA – Property owners don’t have to wait to get rid of dead of hazardous trees or brush.

“Property owners do not need a permit to remove dead or hazardous trees on their private property where the tree is an immediate threat to public health and safety or will not survive the damage sustained,” staff said. “Photos should be taken before removal to provide evidence of the condition of the tree should there by future inquiries.”

City crews are working to remove tree branches and yard waste, but it will take several weeks before the cleanup is finished.

“If possible, residents should bring tree-cuttings, branches and brush to the curb for collection, ensuring it does not impede the roadway or pedestrian access,” staff said. “Please separate brush like tree cuttings or branches from non-organic storm-related waste like damaged lawn furniture or broken fencing.”

The city is continuing with regular garbage and recycling collection following the severe storm.

“Keep reading to find out what you need to know about your waste and debris, and what to do with it,” staff said. “City crews are working hard to remove items put to the curb, but it will take several weeks before the cleanup is finished. All available resources have been redeployed and as a result, other less-urgent operations may be delayed, like park waste collection and grass-mowing, or sidewalk repair. If you are enjoying lunch in your local park, please consider taking your waste home with you as it may be some time before the city can empty those bins.”

What do to with your household waste

Examples: Food packaging, plastics, cardboard, broken glass. Visit the Waste Explorer for more.

How to dispose: Put your household waste to the curb as part of regular garbage and recycling collection, according to the collection calendar. Remember to put broken glass in a separate cardboard box clearly labeled ‘broken glass’ and set it out on garbage day.

What to do with your organic waste

Examples: Food waste or scraps, barbeque ashes, paper coffee cups, soiled paper towels and paper. Visit the Waste Explorer for more.

How to dispose: Organic waste can be disposed of in your green bin. Organic waste gets picked up weekly so you can continue to put out your green bin, according to the collection calendar. Collection may take time due to expected increased volume, so if your green bin is not collected by the end of the day, please take it in and put it back out at the curb the following morning.

“The city is carrying out a green bin blitz over the next few days in the neighbourhoods most affected by the storm to ensure organic waste is collected as soon as possible,” staff said.

The city has also set up several sites for residents to have ongoing access to organics-only waste dumpsters. Just like you do with your green bin, you are allowed to bag your waste. Visit for a complete list of dumpster locations. More dumpsters are being added so be sure to check back for up-to-date information.

Please remember these dumpsters are for organics only. Non-organic materials, like food packaging, should be disposed of separately.

What to do with your storm-related waste:

Examples: Shingles, fencing, lawn furniture. Visit the Waste Explorer for more.

How to dispose: Please separate storm-related waste from any trees or branches when you put them to the curb.

The city’s landfill at the Trail Waste Facility, at 4475 Trail Rd., is also offering extended hours to accommodate special collections and will waive tipping fees for residents with storm-related materials to support residents with their disposal needs.

What to do with your tree cuttings, branches and brush:

Examples: logs, large tree limbs, pressure treated wood

How to dispose: If the debris is small enough, you should bring it to curb for collection, provided it does not impede the roadway or pedestrian access. Please separate brush-like tree cuttings or branches from non-organic storm-related waste. If you can, use twine or another organic material to tie branches in bundles of less than 1.2 metres (four feet) in length and 60 centimetres (two feet) in width.

Public Works crews are working to remove large trees and pieces of wood on roads and in parks that are hazardous, or are damaging homes and vehicles, blocking roads, or leaning on residential properties. Large trees, trunks, stumps and root systems that residents have cut down may be placed curbside if possible. While these will not be collected as part of the regular waste collection, the City will pick them up. This collection will take several weeks.

For now, you do not need a permit to remove dead or hazardous trees on your private property where the tree is an immediate threat to public health and safety or will not survive the damage sustained. Photos should be taken before removal to provide evidence of the condition of the tree should there be future inquiries.

What to do with your household hazardous waste:

Examples: batteries, un-emptied aerosol containers, propane cylinders, paints and coatings, gasoline

How to dispose: Household hazardous waste can be safely disposed of at participating local retailers during their regular business hours. For a list of retailers who accept returns of household hazardous waste, enter the item in the Waste Explorer.

For updates on the city’s storm response, visit the city’s Storm Recovery webpage.

Accessibility resources for residents

OTTAWA – The city has opened many accessible Emergency Reception Centres where residents can access power and services, such as charging mobility devices.

“The centres locations and hours are subject to change based on community needs,” staff said.

For the complete list of centres, services and hours of operation, visit

Need help getting to a reception centre? Please contact Para Transpo at 613-560-5000 (TTY: 244-4833). For other disability-related requests for support, please call 311. Residents in need can also call 211 for information on government and local community-based health and social services. If your situation is life-threatening, please call 911.

“Accessibility is an important commitment for the City of Ottawa,” staff said. “The City of Ottawa’s Accessibility Design Standards were used to select the reception centre sites.”

These standards incorporate considerations of accessibility under the Building Code. Accessibility features include:

  • Door operators
  • Accessible washrooms
  • Ramps
  • Accessible parking
  • Seating for those who cannot stand for long periods
  • Designated Para Transpo drop off/pickup locations, with indoor waiting area
  • Promotion of a scent-free environment
  • Wide corridors and turning radius

Staff will be available at the reception centres to assist residents. Please let staff know what support you require when you arrive.

For updates on the city’s storm response, visit the City’s Storm Recovery webpage.

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