Canada’s largest city and its evening commuters were thumbed by a severe rainstorm on Monday, which left hundreds of thousands without power and flooded major roadways around Toronto and its suburbs (including Mississauga, a city of over 700,000).
The Toronto Star reported 400,000 total Toronto-area residents without power.
The storms hit just after 5 p.m. EST, and Environment Canada issued a flood watch for Toronto. Some areas of the TTC (the city’s underground subway) were flooded, and 90 mm of rain was reported to have fallen at Pearson International Airport not long after.
Environment Canada said it expects total rainfall to hit 100 mm overnight on Monday (total 97 mm as of 2 a.m. EST), and the Canadian Press later reported that all of the TTC had been temporarily stopped.
(UPDATE: At 2:20 a.m. EST, Environment Canada reported 126 mm of total rainfall at Toronto’s Pearson airport, which surpassed the 1954 record of 121.4 mm.)
Others were reporting hours of travel between normally shorter routes, as the rain hit just during the heaviest times of Toronto’s already sometimes manic rush hour traffic.
300,000 Toronto Hydro were customers were reported to have lost power, 20,000 residents in Markham and Richmond Hill lost electricity, and the Don Valley Parkway – one of Toronto’s major roadways – was partly closed.
The 401, 27, and 427 Highways were also partly closed.
A Toronto marine police was also forced to rescue 1,400 passengers on a Richmond Hill-bound GO train, which had become stranded on its tracks as water filled up to its windows.
CBC reported that “a month’s worth of rain” fell on Toronto in just a few hours.
T.O. calls for Calgary mayor Nenshi
Toronto is the second major city in a month to suffer from extreme flooding in its downtown core, following Calgary and much of Southern Alberta, which were submerged in rainfall-caused floods, beginning on June 20 in Canmore, Alta.
Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi received national praise during his city’s flood emergency and recovery efforts. His around-the-clock public presence also inspired the creation of a Twitter trend titled #Nap4Nenshi, cultivated by fans urging him to go to bed.
On Monday, as rain continued to pour and waters steadily rose in Toronto, many of Nenshi’s Twitter followers in Ontario began to ask for the Calgary mayor’s help with their own situation – and a lot of their most pointed Tweets directly targeted Toronto’s mayor, Rob Ford.
— Shannon Hunter (@Shananigans) July 9, 2013
Calgary, can we borrow your mayor for a few days? Kind of an emergency…
— Dan (@torontodan) July 8, 2013
— Mookie (@Mookalicious) July 9, 2013
— Tarzan Dan Freeman (@TarzanDan) July 9, 2013
— Rob Granatstein (@robedits) July 9, 2013
We need a giant batman symbol that will summon @nenshi
— Siri Agrell (@SiriAgrell) July 8, 2013