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Thousands without power across Ontario due to freezing rain and high winds

Thousands of people across Ontario are without power as thunderstorms and freezing rain hit the province.

The storms began early Wednesday, with tornado watches issued in the southern region of the province, including in Windsor, Essex and Chatham-Kent.

Those areas could see wind gusts near 100 km/h, “hail up to ping pong ball size,” and heavy rain late Wednesday morning and into the afternoon.

“Thunderstorms are developing over Michigan and are expected to track eastward into Ontario. As the Great Lakes are very cold, at this time there is a great deal of uncertainty as to how strong these thunderstorms will be as they cross into Ontario,” Environment Canada said on Wednesday.

By 4:30 p.m. the tornado watches had come to an end, but heavy rainfall is still expected to fall throughout the day.

From areas near Toronto, including Barrie and Collingwood, to the northern edges of the province, nearly 50 mm of rain is forecast to fall and could exceed that in areas with multiple thunderstorms.

“Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads,” the weather warning says.

“Localized flooding in low-lying areas is possible. Heavy rainfall in combination with other weather factors, such as hail, wind and lightning will make outdoor activities unsafe”

In other areas, up to 100 mm of rain is expected to fall.

Parts of the province are facing dual weather warnings with freezing rain in the forecast in eastern and central Ontario, spanning from Parry Sound to Kingston and Huntsville to St. Lawrence River, including Ottawa, according to the national weather agency.

Environment Canada is warning that prolonged periods of freezing rain can lead to ice build-up and potential power outages.

As of 6 p.m., Hydro One is reporting more than 120,000 customers are without power.

The outages are being reported across the province, but most can be found in central Ontario. Top Stories

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