Toronto Slammed with Record-Setting Thunderstorms and Flash Flooding

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Marco Werman: I'm Marco Werman, and this is The World. Nothing quite like a thunderstorm to raise your spirits when it's a super muggy summer day, but it was no ordinary storm that wacked Toronto yesterday. It was a record setting whopper of a downpour causing flash floods that stranded commuters on the subway and forcing motorists to abandon their waterlogged cars. Not to mention the power outages. The CBC's Laura Lynch is in Toronto. Laura, it sounds like a mess. Are you on dry ground right now?

Laura Lynch: I managed to make it to dry ground, yes, but my feet are still wet, and that's because my sandals are still wet from the long walk home last night. And guess what Marco? It was raining this morning when I came in too.

Werman: So why was this rainstorm so bad?

Lynch: Well, here's the thing. We did not see this coming, and it appears the weather forecasters didn't. We knew it was gonna rain yesterday, everybody knew that there was a chance of a thunderstorm, but nobody seemed to anticipate, again, including the weather forecasters, that it was going to be that big, that vicious, and last as long as it did. It was just, the normal daytime heating that you apparently get around here built up, but then it just hung over and the rain just poured for hours and hours. It was also incredibly localized because there were parts of Toronto that got just a little bit of rain, and others, like where I was, that just got enormous amounts, rivers in the streets amounts.

Werman: Right, and this is record setting. So what did some of the worst parts of Toronto look like?

Lynch: Well there's a road that runs along the lake and funnily enough it's called Lakeshore Boulevard, and it really did look like a river. Cars were submerged up to their windows; people were swimming out from underneath them to get to safety, to get to higher ground. That was one of the worst situations. There was a commuter train that, that was flooded so badly that people had to be rescued out of the upper part of the commuter train. Subways were shut down because the subways got flooded.

Werman: So power outages as well, I mean that must have been very inconvenient for a lot of people.

Lynch: Yeah, it actually went out when I was still here at the CBC last night, the power went down. Of course here we have emergency power that kicked in so we weren't terribly inconvenienced. We managed to stay on the air. But as I walked home, which was my only option for getting home because the streets were not only clogged with water, they were clogged with cars so the best way for me to get home was on foot, I just saw business after business was shut down. The streetlights were not working so that made the traffic even more of a tangled mess.
And then as I got closer to home there was a part of the road that dips down to an underpass, and it was closed off, and as I got closer I saw why. There were five cars that were submerged under this overpass. They had obviously been caught. The cars were absolutely ruined, and the water pressure at that point was so great that it was actually causing the car horns to start honking.

Werman: Wow. We've got a picture that you took of those five cars that are submerged beneath that overpass at theworld.org. CBC's Laura Lynch, in a very waterlogged Toronto. Great to speak with you Laura, thanks.

Lynch: Okay Marco.