Tens of thousands spend the week in the dark and a special delivery on Hwy. 17: Top stories in Ottawa this week

Tens of thousands of people spend the week without power after an intense downburst hit Ottawa and a mother and four kittens abandoned outside an east end pet store.

CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the top five stories in Ottawa this week.

Ottawa and parts of eastern Ontario spent the week cleaning up after a destructive storm hit the region on May 21.

The Western University Northern Tornadoes Project says a “particularly intense downburst” hit Ottawa, with wind speeds reaching 190 kilometres per hour in some areas. The storm, known as a ‘derecho,’ was measured as an EF-2. Researchers said there was “intermittent damage” along a 5 kilometre wide path from Nepean to Plantagenet.

Immediately after the storm hit, 180,000 Hydro Ottawa customers were without power in all areas of the city.  As of Saturday afternoon, 19,000 homes and businesses remained without power.

Hydro Ottawa said the damage from the storm to the hydro grid is “simply beyond comprehension,” and is “significantly worse” than the 1998 ice storm and the tornadoes that hit Ottawa in September 2018.

Approximately 400 poles have been repaired, compared to 80 during the tornadoes.

Hydro Ottawa initially said the goal was to restore power to the “bulk” of the grid by Friday night; however, rainy weather and the extent of the damage slowed down recovery efforts.

“We continue to make progress, realizing that thousands are waiting to be restored,” Hydro Ottawa president and CEO Bryce Conrad said. “I simply ask for your ongoing patience as we continue to work around the clock to bring every single one of our customers back online.”

The worst of the damage was located in Navan, Stittsville, Merivale and Hunt Club areas.

Meantime, the city of Ottawa estimated the cleanup from the storm could take weeks. Trees and debris litter roads, parks and properties in all areas of the city, and dozens of roads were closed due to the damage.

More than 43 tonnes of organic waste was collected from homes during a “Green Bin Blitz” this week to collect spoiled and rotten food.

Mayor Jim Watson says the Ontario government has promised to cover the costs associated with the cleanup.

Three deaths in the Ottawa-Gatineau and eastern Ontario region were blamed on the storm. Across Ontario, 10 deaths were linked to the storm.

firefighters and utility workers work among downed power lines, poles and traffic lights that came down onto the roadway and onto motorists during a major storm, on Merivale Road in Ottawa, on Saturday, May 21, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

The storm that moved across Ontario and Quebec last weekend is known as a “derecho”, a powerful kind of storm that is long lasting and far-reaching.

The storm moved into Canada from Michigan, hitting London, Kitchener-Waterloo, Toronto, Kingston and Ottawa, before moving into Quebec.

“It’s sort of like a microburst or a thunderstorm but you get a whole army of those. Imagine soldiers lined up and just mowing down the front lines as they move along. Meteorologically, that’s essentially what happens,” Environment Canada’s David Phillips said.

Tamara Lich remains out on bail after an Ottawa judge ruled she hadn’t violated her bail conditions.

The Crown argued the organizer of the “Freedom Convoy” protest last winter breached her bail conditions by accepting an award for her leadership during the protest.

However, Ontario Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips ruled Lich will remain released on bail while awaiting trial, saying that he did not accept that Lich breached her release conditions by agreeing to receive an award and her surety had supervised her well.

Phillips did say Lich’s ban on social media access will remain in place.

Tamara Lich, organizer for a protest convoy by truckers and supporters demanding an end to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, delivers a statement during a news conference in Ottawa, Feb. 3, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

An Ottawa couple’s trip to the hospital for the birth of their daughter wasn’t quick enough, so they had to pull over to the side of the road for the delivery.

Anthony Periard and his partner Julia Turpin were driving from Ottawa to the Pembroke Hospital on Highway 17.

“I didn’t know what to do so I phoned 911 and tried to get someone from the ambulance online,” Periard tells CTV News. “And as soon as he picked up the phone the baby was already out and crying in her lap.”

Perard says the emergency operator instructed him to tie a shoelace around the umbilical cord while they waited for an ambulance to arrive.

Mother and daughter, named River, are doing well.

Julia Turpin, Anthony Periard, and daughter River. River arrived on the side of Highway 17 as Turpin and Periard were making their way to the Pembroke Regional Hospital. (Dylan Dyson/CTV News Ottawa)

A mother and her four kittens are now in the care of the Ottawa Humane Society after being found abandoned in Ottawa’s east end.

Ottawa Bylaw says the “mama and her 4 kittens” were abandoned outside the PetSmart on Innes Road sometime between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. 

Erika Barnstaple discovered the crate full of kittens when she arrived at work.

“Just a carrier with a little garbage bag over top of it to keep from getting wet,” Barnstaple said. “This one cat was just sticking its face out, and one baby. So originally we thought there was only a couple in there, but when we got them inside there was a couple more.”

An employee of the store called 311 for help, and Bylaw Services officers transported the cats to the Ottawa Humane Society for care.

Four kittens abandoned outside a pet store are now in the care of the Ottawa Humane Society. (Peter Szperling/CTV News Ottawa)

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