Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Toronto Area

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for much of the Greater Toronto Area, with the potential for bad weather to start possibly in the early afternoon.

Severe thunderstorms are capable of producing strong wind gusts up to 100 km/h, large hail and heavy downpours, the federal weather agency said in a statement.

“We’ve already seen one round of thunderstorms move through the western part of GTA, we had a brief but heavy shower at the airport already from surround one of the storms,” said Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

“Right now nothing is really showing up on the radar for the GTA, but the potential does continue to exist until at least about five or six o-clock this afternoon for more of these localized thunderstorms to develop.”

Environment Canada is reminding people that heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads. As well, strong winds can cause loose objects to be tossed, damage to weaker buildings, broken branches and can overturn large vehicles.

The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) is warning residents that all rivers, streams and shorelines should be considered hazardous since the rainfall can result in higher flows and water levels.

According to the TRCA, ponding can occur in low-lying areas from the high amounts of rainfall, resulting in slippery and unstable banks. As well, high winds can result in wave action and flooding at Lake Ontario.

The Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management says that people should take cover immediately if threatening weather approaches.

Area residents are encouraged to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada.

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