The Toronto Tempest

I should have known that it was not a good sign when last Sunday afternoon at a friend’s annual ‘girls’ pool party, torrential rain came down to the point where there was more water in our drinks than alcohol! We braved it for a while since we were in the pool and already wet but when it showed no signs of stopping, we dripped our way into the house stepping through pools of water in the garden. So instead of drinking cocktails in the sun by the pool, there we were clutching soaked towels and drinking hot tea!

The next day dawned bright and sunny until about 5 pm when black ugly looking clouds suddenly appeared and all of a sudden a storm burst forth and brought Toronto to its knees. Over 120 mm of rain fell within a few hours, more than average rainfall for the whole of July. Roads and commuter rail lines were flooded. The picture above shows Toronto’s GO commuter train which came to a standstill. People had to be transported to dry ground by rubber dinghy if they were lucky or wait until the water subsided somewhat, a process which took about 7 hours. Drama on the train reached new heights when someone decided to swim to dry ground (he didn’t make it but was among the first to be rescued!) and opened the door whereupon a snake swam in. I don’t know how much additional panic this caused but I know that I would have have been screaming and hysterical had I been there.

The subway trains also ground to a halt as water flooded the underground rail lines and some subway stations filled with water. Needless to say, many roads were flooded leaving passengers in buses and in their cars trapped for hours. Houses got flooded, their contents destroyed and some roofs caved in. There must have been countless cars which suffered irreparable damage like the abandoned Ferrari on a downtown street.

Canadians are a hardy bunch and not phased by freak weather. Some of the young and intrepid stripped down and waded through the water since though raining, it was still warm. A few brought out their canoes and paddled to where they were going. Some suburbs were without power for a number of hours or a couple of days. A few people who suddenly found that all the food in their freezers had thawed out held street parties and invited all the neighbours to help themselves to food.

Since the storm, the sun has come out and we are having glorious weather perfect for barbecuing and dining outdoors.  This weekend, I am enjoying entertaining my friends and family on my deck.

By the way, I am sorry to say that this is the first post where I do not have my own photos but got them from news reports and twitter feeds on the internet. Please click on the links below them to see where I got them.  I debated on whether to write about this at all as I prefer to use my own shots but it was a phenomenon to remember!

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One Response to The Toronto Tempest

  1. Joan DoRosario says:

    Glad you decided to write about this. A well documented account of what happened that awful evening. Hope you were safe and were spared any flooding damage. Love reading your blog, please keep it going.

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