‘This is unbelievable’: Heavy storm hits Toronto

The sunny skies darkened in the blink of an eye. A severe storm with “near-hurricane-force winds,” according a meteorologist, materialized out of nowhere on a Saturday afternoon, demolition of hydroelectric linescutting power and vandalizing houses through Ontario.

“Wow, this is amazing,” Weather Network meteorologist Mark Robinson said in a video office during the storm. Robinson ducked behind his car to keep debris from flying at him. “I can’t describe how strong these winds are,” he said. “It’s absolutely amazing.”

Daniel Liota, a meteorologist with Environment Canada’s storm prediction center, told the Star that Saturday’s storm had winds equivalent to a low-intensity tornado. As a result, the agency sent out text message warnings urging Ontarians to seek shelter immediately. It was the first time this had been done for a storm in the province, he said.

“Forecasters are tracking a very dangerous thunderstorm capable of producing destructive wind gusts and ton-sized hail,” the alert said. The agency also warned of possible tornadoes, characterizing the storm as a “dangerous and life-threatening situation.”

Tragically, that would be an accurate prediction. The Peel Regional Police reported A woman in Brampton died Saturday after being struck by a tree during the storm.

The woman was in her 70s and was out walking alone in the storm when parts of a large tree fell on her, Peel police officer Heather Cannon told media at the scene.

“She was removed by first responders and transported to a local hospital, where she succumbed to her injuries,” Cannon said. “Who can know that this is something that is going to happen? It’s just a tragic, absolute tragic accident.”

At Toronto’s Royal York Station, a subway train stood still after running over a tree felled by the storm. The police had to evacuate the stranded passengers through the tunnels.

several trees were thrown into cars in the Riverdale area of ​​Toronto with enough force to shatter windshields.

In London, Ontario, Nicole Fice tweeted a photo from his neighbor’s collapsed front porch after the storm blew trees onto him.

a big tree Was seen completely ripped out from under the concrete in Cambridge, Ontario.

One wildlife enthusiast on Twitter he warned that, with so many trees scattered by the storm, many squirrel and bird nests would be out of place.

The images and videos were posted on Twitter as Environment Canada issued the severe storm warning for the city of Toronto and surrounding areas on Saturday afternoon.

The warning for Toronto was lifted at 1:38 p.m., minutes after the brief but intense storm hit the city.

“The storm is way to the east of the GTA now,” Liota said in an interview with the Star just after 2 p.m. “It’s now heading into Northumberland Country towards parts of country houses. It looks like today’s major serious risk to Golden Horseshoe and GTA is almost over.”

Toronto Hydro was still assessing the extent of damage from the storm at the time of publication.

“We continue to respond to a series of scattered power outages and downed power lines throughout the city as a result of this afternoon’s storm and often caused by falling trees and limbs,” a spokesperson said.

Toronto Hydro advised people who come across a downed power line to stay at least 10 meters away for their safety and to report it by calling (416) 542-8000.

Share your photos of the storm with the Star here.

Ben Cohen is a reporter for the Star in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @bcohenn

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