Floods, blackouts hit Toronto

Ted Alcuitas
Flooding in Canada's largest city came less than 3 weeks after the western city of Calgary was devastated by floods

VANCOUVER, Canada – Toronto was hit by a severe thunderstorm that caused flooding and power outages Monday, July 8, less than 3 weeks after the western city of Calgary was devastated by flooding.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport reported 126 mm of rain throughout Monday, breaking the previous single-day rainfall record for Canada’s largest city, which was set on October 15, 1954, when hurricane Hazel dumped 121 mm of rain.

“We had 90 millimeters of rain within an hour and a half at the airport,” Peter Kimbell, a meteorologist at Environment Canada, told The Canadian Press. He said the storm ranked among the most intense rainfalls the city has ever seen.

Downtown Toronto reported slightly less — 97 mm of rain for the day, according to the weather agency.

Power company Toronto Hydro said as many as 300,000 people are without power around the city. Earlier in the day they said the storm had hit the suburb of Etobicoke hard.

They added that crews are out and assessing the damage.

Power utility Enersource said most, if not all, of its customers in the neighboring city of Mississauga should have their power back Tuesday, July 9. Another power company, Powerstream, said all of its customers north of Toronto who were blacked out all had their power back prior to midnight.

The city’s transit was swamped much of Monday evening, as the rain began falling during the busy evening commute period. The subway service was temporarily halted but service had resumed on most of the system by early Tuesday.

The Toronto Region Conservation Authority also warned that the banks of the Don River were at risk of collapse in some areas.

The city’s Metrolinx transport service said buses and trains have been affected due to severe rain throughout Greater Toronto and Hamilton area.

The flooding also caused a full closure of the city’s north-south Don Valley Parkway on Monday evening, but both lanes were reopened in time for the morning rush hour the next day.

The downpour left several roads and underpasses flooded and a number of people trapped in vehicles — some with water up to their vehicle windows.

Others found themselves stranded downtown at subway and commuter train stations.

All flights at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport were also suspended due to the storm, according to Pamela McDonald, spokeswoman for the Toronto Port Authority.

Toronto police said significant rainfall has caused the banks of the Don River to overflow. They urged people to stay at home if they can.

Toronto police and Toronto Fire have said there have been no injuries due to the storm. Toronto Fire also said that they received around 300 calls.

Toronto EMS are recommending people do not travel if they can as cars are creating obstacles for paramedics. They also said they have received a large number of people stuck in elevators. – Rappler.com

Ted Alcuitas is senior editor of Philippine Asian News Today in Vancouver. 

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