Toronto beset by flash flooding

Flooding causes widespread power outages

July 9, 2013

Toronto residents experienced widespread outages and a slow morning commute Tuesday after heavy downpours caused flash flooding. This after Toronto's rush hour Monday turned into anything but -- as a deluge from a summer storm inundated the city, swamping commuters whether they traveled by rail or by road.

The downpour flooded underpasses, trapping people in their vehicles with water reported as high as the windows, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Nearly four inches of rain fell Monday evening, knocking out power to more than 335,000 customers.

The downpour was roughly equal to the amount of precipitation Toronto would get in the entire month of July. The torrential rain and squalls downed trees, flooded subway stations and basements and stranded motorists in murky waters.

The heavy rain quickly overwhelmed Toronto’s storm sewers, sending the Don River out of its banks. Almost 5 inches of rain fell at Pearson International.

At the storm’s height, Toronto Hydro reported some 300,000 residents were without power across the greater Toronto Area, according to CTV.

Crews racing to get the lights back on for about 20,000 customers earlier this morning in the west end are facing more than double that workload ahead. Toronto Hydro has confirmed that 5,000 customers are now in the dark due to Liberty Village and the surrounding area being affected by a lack of supply from the Hydro One station.

“Toronto has persevered; we have weathered the storm,” Mayor Rob Ford said, before stressing the need to reduce electricity consumption over the next 24 hours.

Toronto police Const. Wendy Drummond said she's never seen a flooding incident this severe in the city, but emergency crews were prepared to respond.

Speaking on Metro Morning on Tuesday, Coun. Denzil Minnan-Wong, who heads the city's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee said he was "tremendously concerned" about the impact of the storm.

Meanwhile, Toronto is bracing for more rain. CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland said possible thunderstorms forecast for the Greater Toronto Area could create the possibility for more heavy downpours.

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