Blackouts, floods, and rain, oh my! #stormTO

by W. Andrew Powell

Irony is not without a sense of humour, it seems, even if it’s kind of ruthless. Cocktails for Calgary was supposed to help raise money for victims of the Calgary floods tonight at the Drake Hotel in Toronto, but thanks to a storm–the likes of which the city has supposedly not seen since Hurricane Hazel in 1954–that fund raiser had to be cancelled, due to flooding.

Flooding in Toronto may not rival Calgary–I honestly can’t say yet since power is still out at my home on the west side of the city–but it’s certainly been bad here, and it’s like nothing I have ever seen before.

Images on Twitter have shown cars, buses–and yes, even the Go Trains–partially submerged in inches, or feet of water.

And the flooding is far from localized.

Highways around the Greater Toronto Area were shut down from the flooding, and the TTC subway was crippled for most of the evening. It’s hard to even know what to compare the storm to, since Toronto rarely has seen anything like this, and certainly not in the last decade or two.

Most of Toronto’s worst weather, most years, can be summed up as either: downed trees and power lines, power outages, flooded basements, and occasionally, crazy amounts of snow.

Today’s storm though, is a whole level above that, and you can’t help but wonder how many people might have been seriously hurt as they were caught in the water.

Judging by the reaction on Twitter–from the city, police, fire services, and everyone dealing with the outages and issues–I’m not alone in thinking this is a crazy day for the city.

Maybe it’s just random weather, but as we see more and more weird weather mishaps each year, it’s probably not just Mother Nature being odd. Thinking about how we’re messing up the weather with environmental issues is starting to become a serious topic if these storms and problems keep getting worse. I refuse to use the term “G.W.” here, since I think it’s thrown around carelessly enough as it is–to the point where it’s almost meaningless–but climate change is definitely an issue we’re going to have to face one way or another.

Back to the city though, it’s worth sharing some of the incredible images that I’ve seen on Twitter. Here are a few of the ones that amazed me today, and I expect you’ll see a lot more tomorrow. Here are a few from the #stormTO hashtag, or any that I happened to stumble upon.

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