Wild storm downs trees, cuts power in GTA
A man inspects a fallen tree limb near Kingston Rd. and Midland Ave. in Scarborough after a fierce storm swept through the GTA Wednesday evening. (RICK EGLINTON/THE TORONTO STAR)
Toronto Hydro is still working to restore power after a wild storm knocked down trees and power lines in pockets of the city Wednesday night.
Power has been restored in many areas, but remained out Thursday morning in areas of North York and Scarborough.
On Kinloch Cres. in Maple, Kim Ambrose said lightning had effectively destroyed her neighbour’s roof.
The home was surrounded by neighbours and firefighters, who were at the top of a ladder spraying water down into the roofless building, Ambrose said.
“The entire main floor is gone, I’m sure the ceiling has fallen into the rest of the house,” she said.
In Scarborough, power was out around Midland Ave. and several blocks eastward, forcing cars to treat intersections along Kingston Rd. as four-way stops.
At Chine Dr., a massive tree was ripped from the sidewalk, uprooting a power line pole and taking down a fence.
Caroline Colaris was on her way to the airport when the storm hit and pounded her car with hail. When she returned to her home on Chine Dr., she found police tape closing off the street and firefighters dealing with other fallen trees and debris.
“We missed all the excitement,” said Colaris. “But it’s still quite a shock.”
She said she’s never seen a storm so bad in her 20 years in Scarborough. There was no damage to her home, she added, aside from a few scattered flowerpots.
As people from the neighbourhood surveyed the damage, city workers shooed them away from the fallen power pole, calling it unsteady and dangerous.
Just off Brimley Rd., another huge tree lay across Barkdene Hills, its branches jutting upward as high as a power pole.
Returning from a bike ride, Ron Harlow said he didn’t expect such strong gusts of wind and the barrage of quarter-sized hail, even as he watched storm warnings on the news.
“It was pretty scary,” he said.
His nephew, Caleb, 11, said, “It sounded like the windows were going to break.”
Among those with homes badly damaged by the storm was Mark Towhey, Mayor Rob Ford’s policy chief. At 9:25 p.m. he tweeted the city’s 311 information service to say he had been on hold for 35 minutes to report a city tree down on his house and wires, and asking when was a better time to call.
A city staffer operating the 311 Twitter feed apologized and asked him to call again.
Throughout Ontario, about 150,000 Hydro One customers were left without power and many may not get their electricity back until Sunday.
The storms caused damage in Haliburton County and the Kawartha Lakes and there were unconfirmed reports of tornadoes in the Minden Hills area near Peterborough.
After a muggy day and stormy night, Thursday in Toronto will likely be cooler and wet.
Environment Canada predicts a cloudy day, with showers beginning this morning. There’s a chance of thunderstorms late Thursday morning and this afternoon.
Though the agency predicts a daytime high of 25 C, the humidity will make it feel muggier. The overcast weather should clear this evening, with a low of 14 C.
The slightly cooler forecast comes as a relief after Wednesday’s record-breaking weather, with temperatures reaching a high of 33.4 C.
That exceeded the 32.2C record for June 8 set in 1950 and 1959.
The humidex sat at 42, according to Environment Canada. A heat alert and humidex advisory were in effect for the GTA, with a UV index of 8, or very high.
- Got a picture of yesterday's storm, or any damage it caused? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet your picture using the hashtag #storm TO or post to our Flickr pool.l
Alyesha Haniff, Staff Reporter, with files from Star staff and The Canadian Press