This study examined the impact of the 1998 Canadian ice storm on the physical and psychological health of older adults (age > 55 years) living with a chronic physical illness, namely osteoarthritis and/or osteoporosis. Although disasters are relatively rare, they are a useful means of examining the impact of a single stressor on a group of individuals. Specifically, we took advantage of a natural experiment to compare the responses of a group of 59 ice storm victims to those of 55 matched controls living outside the ice storm area. Data on disability, pain, self-reported health, helplessness, depression, and independence were assessed prior to the ice storm and approximately 17 months later. Older adults who reported greater helplessness and lost independence prior to the storm reported significantly greater ice storm stress and rumination and were more likely to report that the storm affected their condition. In addition, participants exposed to the ice storm reported significant changes in disability and pain nearly a year and a half later, compared to matched controls. These results suggest that older adults with chronic physical illness may be particularly vulnerable when faced with additional stressful events.