The Montreal ice storm of ’98

03Mar12

For nine days in January 1998, the city of Montreal and its suburbs reeled under the most devastating ice storm in the history of the region.

The numbers tell the story: about $1 billion in economic losses, 180 millimeters of rain, minus 35 Celsius temperature on the coldest day, a power grid kept operable by 5 main and 4 secondary distribution stations broken in 4places, resulting in 3 millionresidents without electricity, and hundreds of thousands of houses, long stretches of roads and highways blanketed in ice.

A vibrant city at a standstill — frozen, literally, in time. With millions of residents inside suffering an excruciating level of pain, anxiety and misery.

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For a detailed look at this graphic, click here to view a PDF.

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I started creating the graphic as the ice storm developed. The initial idea was to first explain visually what causes an ice storm, then have a separate graphic later on for more developments. But as the story unfolded with more details coming from Toronto Star staff reporting from Quebec, we decided to have just one graphic that would cover the whole story. Above is the product of those frenzied days.

Graphic by Alfred Elicierto. Published in the Toronto Star on Jan. 15, 1998.

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Also in this blog:
Why cities are spreading to the countryside
Remembering Katrina of 2005
Tragic end to a bombing raid
Treating gunshot wounds
Crime news infographics as old as crime

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