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Fall storm blasts eastern Canada

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer
October 20, 2011 — A large fall storm has brought record rainfall to parts of Ontario. Heavy rain continues to fall throughout Atlantic Canada.

Peak wind gusts recorded Wednesday
Peak wind gusts recorded Wednesday

A large system that pushed in from the U.S. drenched parts of Ontario Wednesday evening and overnight, causing power outages, downed trees and localized flooding.

On Toronto Island, winds reached up to 80 km/h. Lightning strikes were also reported throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Hydro One has been busy restoring service to almost 15,000 customers across southern and central Ontario.

Hamilton had reported 59.8 mm of rain on Wednesday, smashing the previous daily record of 13.8 mm set in 1994. Through the overnight hours the rain continued to fall, bringing Hamilton's two-day total up to 75 mm.

Toronto's Pearson International Airport has also set a new record on Wednesday with 34.2 mm - doubling the old record of 16.2 mm.

Meteorologist and Storm Hunter Mark Robinson was in the thick of the storm on Wednesday. He reported high waves along Lake Ontario's shores in Burlington.

“This does represent what a hurricane would look like in southern Ontario,” Robinson told The Weather Network.

“But a hurricane is a different beast than this. This is a very strong, low pressure system. We don't get the extremely fast winds you'd see in a hurricane, but we do end up with lots of rain, water and flooding.”

Some light drizzle will continue in Ontario throughout the day on Thursday, but things will be gradually improving.

The heavy rain however, has pushed into Atlantic Canada with at least 50 mm expected in some places by the time all is said and done.

The East Coast will see its fair share of rain when all's said and done
The East Coast will see its fair share of rain when all's said and done

Intense wind and rain events lasting several days are common at this time of year, says Diar Hassan, another meteorologist at The Weather Network.

“It's because the contrast in temperature between the two air masses, north and south, is quite prominent,” he explained. “When those two air masses collide with each other, we can see intensification of the systems. This is typical fall weather,” he added.

Another common phenomenon at this time of year, especially in Ontario, is lake-effect showers. As cold winds pass over the warm waters of the Great Lakes, they can produce heavy showers along the shorelines.

Westerly winds in the wake of the current low pressure system will increase the chances of lake effect rain, especially along the Huron Shores, Georgian Bay and Lake Superior.

Driving can be difficult in this kind of weather. The right tires on your vehicle can help you avoid hydroplaning.

It's also a good idea to take the necessary steps to avoid basement flooding.

For a closer look at the weather forecast, be sure to check our Canadian Cities Index.

With files from Cheryl Santa Maria

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