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Heavy rain, thunder and lightning strike southern Ontario


Staff writers

July 26, 2012 — Forget the alarm clock-- rumbles of thunder, frequent lightning and heavy rain had many residents in southern Ontario jumping out of bed early Thursday.

Lightning may have caused three house fires in the Greater Toronto Area
Lightning may have caused three house fires in the Greater Toronto Area

Stormy weather that pushed in from the U.S. finally gave parts of southern Ontario a good soaking.

The region has had not one, not two, but three chances to see some active weather.

"The first wave of moisture pushed into southwestern Ontario Wednesday evening and these storms were mostly non-severe in nature," says Monica Vaswani, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "It wasn't until the overnight hours, when the string of severe storms moved in from Michigan. Starting at about 2 am, the widespread risk basically stretched from Windsor all the way to Barrie."

According to Environment Canada, there were around 29,000 lightning strikes over a 12 hour period in southern Ontario. Officials say the lightning may have caused several house fires in Brampton and two separate fires in Vaughan and Georgina. No injuries have been reported, but several people have been displaced.

Toronto Hydro also reported several small power outages throughout the night.

Elsewhere in the Greater Toronto Area, some vehicles were stranded after a burst of heavy rain left roads covered in water.

Rainfall totals as of 2 am Thursday
Rainfall totals as of 2 am Thursday

Up to 30 mm of rain had fallen by the early morning hours on Thursday, with additional rain possible throughout the day.

"That will be the third wave of moisture coming through," says Vaswani. "There's a chance for more thunderstorms through Thursday afternoon, but these storms will be more isolated and not as widespread across the region."

The rain prompted the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority to issue an alert on Wednesday warning of higher flows and water levels in rivers and streams.

Despite some problems the wet weather is causing however, most Ontarians have welcomed the change.

It's been an unusually warm summer across the province and the dry conditions have influenced just about everything, from extreme fire risks to crops - many of which have been damaged. It's also impacted hydro demands, which were sent soaring during a warm spell back in June.

Visit the Alerts section of the website to keep on top of watches and warnings in your community.

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