Grimsby man dies after Ontario hit with violent weather
Strong winds across the region are being blamed for bringing down hydro wires, tossing boaters into the water, blowing around bricks, closing highways and killing at least one person.
Niagara Police announced Thursday afternoon that they have been bombarded with calls due to the high winds.
One of the calls was about the death of man from Grimsby in his 70s. The man was walking around on his property on South Grimsby Rd. around 8 a.m. when a burst of wind caught a steel garage door that was leaning against a shed nearby.The man was struck by the flying door and died.
Much of southern Ontario, including the GTA, was put under a wind warning on Thursday morning. Environment Canada called for wind gusts up to 100 km/h in the worst areas.
The warning ended for the GTA around 1 p.m. By late afternoon, wind speeds were down to 30 km/h with occasional gusts up to 50 km/h, Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell said.
There were no reports of any tornados in the region, he added.
The winds, which have been howling in Toronto since early in the morning when thunderstorms rolled through the city, pulled down a number of hydro wires.
Around 9:30 a.m., Toronto Fire was responding to eight calls for wires down all over the city.
The Toronto District School Board has also issued an alert to parents, informing them that several schools are without power.
Whitney Public School, near Mt. Pleasant Rd. and St. Clair Ave. E., has had to cancel classes because of the weather.
Students aren’t the only people left without power Thursday. Toronto Hydro was reporting more than 30 power outages stretching across the city from Rexdale to Morningside Heights at around 11:30 a.m.
The area just east of the Humber River, starting at Lake Ontario going all the way up to Eglinton Ave. W., may have up to 5,000 people without power.
The violent winds have also crumbled at least one building in Toronto and closed down some roads across the province.
Police have had to shut down a section of Bloor St. between Dovercourt Rd. and Dufferin St. after responding to a crumbling building. A number of loose bricks flew off the top of the building, which is near Havelock St., around 11 a.m.
Police have confirmed that no one was injured when the debris fell but inspectors have been called in to access the integrity of the rest of the building.
Earlier in the morning, the Ontario Provincial Police closed down the Burlington Skyway — in both directions — because of the strong winds.
The closure lasted for almost four hours. It re-opened around 12:45 p.m. Around 11:30 a.m., the OPP also closed Highway 405 at the Lewiston-Queenston bridge in both directions.
Meanwhile, emergency officials in Hamilton rescued up to 100 students who were rowing in Burlington Bay in the blustery weather.
All of the rowers have been accounted for and only few students were taken to hospital for mild hypothermia.
Closer to London, the Western headquarters of the OPP released a report discouraging people from driving in the winds.
“OPP have responded to numerous reports of downed hydro lines, fallen trees and flooding,” said the release.
“Some areas close to Lake Erie are experiencing flooding as waves continue to pound the shore and in some cases even crest break-walls.”
Despite the stormy weather as of late, it doesn’t appear that Toronto will break any rainfall records for April.
The wettest April on record is from 1992 when 133.8 mm of rain fell during the month.
So far, the city of Toronto has only recorded 92 mm of rain at Environment Canada’s Pearson Airport station, said senior climatologist Dave Phillips.
He added that the total does not include five hours of rain the city has seen on Thursday morning. But the rain is expected to taper off during Thursday and there is only a 30 per cent chance of showers on Friday.
“I think we may reach the 100 mark,” said Phillips.
“But I don’t think we’re going to get much over it.”
That is not to say, April hasn’t been a damp and dark month. “It’s been a depressing month,” said Phillips.
“I’ve been telling people it’s not the election, it’s not because it’s tax month -- it’s the weather!”
Toronto has only seen a total of 119 hours of sunshine for the entire month of April, which is significantly below the normal of 197 hours.
Only three of the last 14 days have been precipitation-free. As it stands now, there may be one more day of sunshine left for April. Environment Canada is forecasting sunny skies and a high of 17 C for Saturday, the last day of the month.
-- Madeleine White, Staff Reporter
VIDEO: High winds bring big waves to Lakeshore