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Saturday, July 30, 2016

The worst storms in Toronto history

2013 flood torontoThe worst rain and thunder storms in Toronto history have ranged from the tragic to the expensive. It's not often that casualties result from weather events in Toronto these days, but that's not always been the case, and the danger certainly still exists when a storm becomes particularly ferocious.

Here's a round-up of some of the worst storms ever to hit the city.

toronto island peninsulaThe Island-forming storm of 1858
It takes one hell of a storm to turn a peninsula into an Island, but that's just what happened in April 1858 when a powerful spring onslaught created the Eastern Gap. This portion of the Island had flooded before, but this time it stuck, and major ships were able to enter the harbour through this passage in a few months.

hurricane hazelHurricane Hazel
This is the big one. Hurricane Hazel caused 81 deaths in Canada when it caught just about everyone by surprise in mid October 1954. Areas around the Humber River in particular were hit hard as it burst its banks with startling force, levelling homes and making rescue efforts extremely difficult. When it was all said and done, the storm cost $125.2 million in property damage.

2005 flood torontoThe epic flood of August 2005
The storm that struck Toronto and Southern Ontario on August 19, 2005 was described as one one in a century. There were three tornadoes reported in conjunction with the storm, but it was the rain that caused the most damage in Toronto. Roughly 130 millimeters of rain fell in Toronto, which caused extensive flooding, road damage, and cost approximately $500 million in damage.

2009 flood torontoTornadoes hit the GTA in August 2009
It is exceedingly rare for tornadoes to touch down in the Toronto area. It seemed like it was going to happen during the 2005 storm, but it was almost exactly five years later on August 20, 2009 that two F2 tornadoes touched down in Vaughan as part of an outburst in Southern Ontario that included 19 in total.

2013 flood torontoThe Toronto flood of July 2013
The Toronto flood of 2013 is the most costly storm on this list, with an estimated $1 billon in damages. In the age of Instagram, it was also one of the most well documented weather calamities in the city. The Don River flooded and trapped passengers on a GO train, rail underpasses across the city filled with water, and as many as 300,000 people lost power.

Photos by Tom Ryaboi, the Toronto Archives, the Wikimedia Commons, and Zebriana.

by Derek Flack via blogTO

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