Toronto cleaning up after storm downs trees, knocks out power
Published Saturday, July 20, 2013 8:29AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, July 20, 2013 8:13PM EDT
Toronto is cleaning up from an intense thunderstorm that swept through the city, toppling trees and leaving thousands of residents without power.
One of the trees to fall victim to the severe storm that swept through much of the GTA is said to have inspired the song ‘The Maple Leaf Forever.’
A crowd gathered Friday in front of the toppled tree -- a large silver maple -- located on Laing Street in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood.
The tree, estimated to be about 150 years old, is famous for being the inspiration the Alexander Muir’s poem, which was later turned into a song.
Officials with Environment Canada visited some of the areas hardest hit by Friday’s storm to check on reports of funnel clouds near Barrie and Bradford.
Environment Canada meteorologist Arnold Ashton said Saturday the agency is trying to determine what happened.
“Many reports of strong, straight-line winds but it’s possible there might have been some tornadic storms embedded in some of these,” he told CTV Toronto.
Storm causes wide-spread blackouts
Friday’s severe thunderstorm warnings covered much of southern Ontario, including cottage country, where winds reached 80 kilometres per hour.
The high winds that accompanied the storm knocked out power to as many as 6,000 Toronto Hydro customers and more than 195,000 Hydro One customers on Friday.
As of Saturday evening, Toronto Hydro said 700 customers remain without power.
Meanwhile, Hydro One said 900 employees are working to restore power to 93,000 customers elsewhere in Ontario.
Temperatures cool down
The high winds and heavy rain that began in the evening managed to bring down the heat and humidity that had lingered in Toronto throughout the week.
On Saturday morning, the City of Toronto cancelled a heat alert that had been in effect since Monday; temperatures have lingered in the low 30s throughout the week, but with the humidity, it felt like the lows 40s.
Torontonians are expected to get a break from the heat this weekend, with Environment Canada forecasting a high of 27 C for Saturday, while Sunday’s high is expected to reach 24 C.
With a report from CTV Toronto’s Naomi Parness