1998 Ice Storm Quebec. 25 days no electricity, 25 died. What is the prognosis for winter 1999/2000?

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Most people made it through this disaster, but were scared and cold. I'm thinking, if the power goes down for a month in most of the north, the death toll could reach the thousands. Any thoughts.

-- jim (outstrip@hotmail.com), February 16, 1999


The Clinton administration has decided that the biggest threat from Y2K are the raving kooks hoarding supplies - and gasp - buying legal weapons. Also, there is a big threat from all the fires started by the survialist right-wing militia's out there "playing with their new wood-burning stoves."

I'm sorry, freezing to death in the middle of the winter isn't considered a threat. Nor are fires caused by people burning candles or trying to stay warm in the dark.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), February 16, 1999.


Have you seen this link? It's to a personal account of the January, 1998 ice storm. It has a lot of detail about what Quebec residents went through...


-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), February 17, 1999.

Hey, Kevin! You followed my link! Get the book--it's even better. :)

-- Rachel Gibson (rgibson@hotmail.com), February 17, 1999.

I don't want anyone to think I'm callous, but my take is only 25?

If you look at the mortality figures in the UK, they go up in winter. My guess is that they go up more in a colder country (though perhaps not, since buildings and clothing in such a country may be warmer).

It's impossible to say how many of these are caused directly by cold (as opposed to indirectly via flu complications and suchlike).

However, it's a sad fact of life that old people die. A doctor called out to an old person who has died naturally in his or her house will only diagnose hypothermia if many other things are clearly wrong. If the situation was merely that the old person was economising a bit because he or she was afraid of the heating bills, no-one will ever know if that caused the death, and if so whether it robbed an old person of further years of life or just a few days. Except, of course, that it shows up in the statistics ...

The ice storm must have exposed a lot of wealthy and reasonably well- off Canadians to living conditions that normally only the very poor endure. Only 25 deaths? Sorry, it was almost certainly a lot more. Y2K has the potential to do the same, worldwide, and the greatest irony would be if the births and deaths statistics get screwed up, the pattern might never be noticed.

Make sure you can keep your old folks warm!

-- Nigel Arnot (nra@maxwell.ph.kcl.ac.uk), February 17, 1999.

Jump over to the HomePower site and read the article about the ice storm - I think it was in the last issue.

-- j (just@passing.com), February 17, 1999.

Thanks for the link, Kevin. I think you can read more into it than just the "loss of electricity" part of it. Like, human reactions to adversity. And the part on shelters was particularly enlightening.

Substitute Y2K for icestorm, and I think you begin to see the magnitude of what we're dealing with. What was particularly interesting were the comments about malls still being crowded, eateries still being full, the appearance of normalcy, but yet thousands were literally fighting for their lives in shelters.

This is definately a keeper, and I'm printing it out for a few of my DGI family members and associates. Because it's the DGI's that will be in the Y2K shelters, and fighting for their lives!

-- Jelly Bean (jelly@belly.com), February 17, 1999.

"The ice storm must have exposed a lot of wealthy and reasonably well- off Canadians to living conditions that normally only the very poor endure. Only 25 deaths? Sorry, it was almost certainly a lot more."

Nigel, I was born and lived in Quebec until age 18. Quebecers are quite used to severe cold, -40f is common throughout the province, even colder where I was born. Wood and oil stoves are common in households, as secondary heating sources. Even though electricity is cheaper there, bills get hefty with such frigid temperatures and commonly people use wood or oil stoves to help lower their bills. My huge family is still all in Quebec and all of them have a non electric secondary heating method. Plus, the clothes people wear are enough to keep you warm without heating; down and fur coats are not as much luxury as it is here, cheaper boots keep your feet warm in -40 whether. Quebecers are well aware of the danger of dangers of freezing to death in winter, and so are prepared for emergencies. My dad always had a shovel, blankets, extra mittens, jumping cables and other stuff in his trunk for example.

25 people dying from the cold is surprisingly high to me. Most were probably old or weak people in the cities who hadn't been reached in time.

-- Chris (catsy@pond.com), February 17, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ