GTA, Southern Ontario feeling effects of severe thunder storm

WATCH: At least 2 dead after severe storm hits Ontario

A severe thunderstorm left a trail of chaos in its wake across the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.

Environment Canada put much of Southern Ontario under a severe thunderstorm warning on Saturday.

A storm, marked by torrential rain and high winds, moved from London, Ont., through Waterloo and into the Greater Toronto area.

“Take these storms seriously,” Global News’ Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell said in a tweet Saturday.

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Environment Canada issued a similarly stark warning.

“Environment Canada meteorologists are tracking a very dangerous thunderstorm capable of producing destructive wind gusts, up to toonie size hail and heavy rain,” the warning reads.

“This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation.”

The storm was severe enough for Environment Canada to issue a broadcast-intrusive emergency alert that goes out to television and radio stations and mobile phones.

Environment Canada meteorologist Daniel Liota said the winds of 132 kilometres per hour measured at the Kitchener, Ont. airport were enough of a risk to property and life to trigger the alert warning.

He said severe thunderstorms were only recently added to the alert system.

According to Alert Ready, which runs the warning system for Canadian governments, a severe thunderstorm warning has not gone out on the system in the four years of data listed.

To trigger a broadcast-intrusive alert for thunderstorms, there needs to be measured winds of at least 130 kilometres an hour, or hail of at least seven centimetres in diameter, which is about the size of a tennis ball, said Liota.


The aftermath of the storm in Toronto.

Global News/Ryan Belgrave

There were widespread reports of fallen trees, hydro lines and power outages.

Peel Regional Police said live hydro poles had fallen on a vehicle with its passengers still inside in Mississauga. The force also said hydro lines were down “and on fire” in Brampton.

Peel police also reported a tree had fallen on a house and truck in the Howden Boulevard and Hillpark Trail area of Brampton. “Numerous” traffic lights were reported as malfunctioning.

Toronto police said some power outages in the city had already been reported by 1:15 p.m. Non-emergency police lines were closed in Toronto and the public asked to report non-urgent storm issues to the City of Toronto’s 311 helpline.

“We’re responding to outages caused by severe thunderstorms moving across southwestern Ontario as quickly and safely as possible,” Hydro One tweeted at 1:00 p.m.

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) said service was disrupted on the Bloor-Danforth subway line after crews were required to clear “debris from the tracks” between Kipling and Jane stations.

Around 1:45 p.m., a separate subway train ran over a tree and became stuck near Royal York Station.

In York Region, the local Viva transit service reported delays of “up to 20 minutes due to weather and road closures.”

Multiple flights scheduled to arrive at Toronto Pearson Airport Saturday afternoon were listed as delayed.

“We anticipate that the storm will delay flights throughout the evening,” a spokesperson for the airport told Global News.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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