Streets flood, flights cancelled, as thunderstorm hits GTA
Published Tuesday, July 31, 2012 1:21PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, July 31, 2012 6:04PM EDT
A sudden summer storm struck north of Toronto Tuesday afternoon with reports of a possible tornado touching down near the town of Alliston.
Environment Canada issued an intense thunderstorm watch for the regions of Halton, Peel, Dufferin, Durham and York.
The weather agency said there is the potential for intense lightning, hail and wind gusts up to 90 km/h.
Torrential downpours were also reported in many areas, including Toronto, where heavy rains slowed traffic and flooded some streets around 2 p.m.
There were reports of flooding in some areas of the city, with water a foot deep in one section of Lake Shore Boulevard west, near Legion Road.
Despite the water, streetcars and vehicles were still able to make their way along the route.
The sudden rainfall also prompted the City of Toronto to issue a flood outlook, urging drivers to use caution in low-lying areas and underpasses where water was likely to accumulate.
The storm caused headaches for air travellers, too, with 165 flights out of Pearson International Airport delayed and at least 22 cancelled.
There was also a report of a lightning strike near Bayview Avenue and Highway 7 in York Region.
Storm rips roof off building
Alliston, the small southern Ontario community, was hit with the brunt of the storm shortly before noon, with some reports suggesting a tornado touched down east of the community.
The storm tore the roof off a truck dealership on Highway 89, according to eye witness accounts.
Ontario Provincial Police confirmed that crews were dispatched to a fire in the area, but could not confirm a tornado had touched down.