July 9, 2013 in Nation/World

Toronto storm causes rush-hour chaos

Associated Press
Associated Press photo

A GO train is stranded on flooded tracks in Toronto on Monday. A severe thunderstorm forced the shutdown of Toronto’s subways and cut power to 300,000.
(Full-size photo)

TORONTO – A severe thunderstorm caused flash flooding in Toronto during the Monday evening rush hour, cutting power to at least 300,000 in Canada’s largest city, shutting down subways, and leaving about 1,000 passengers stranded for hours on a commuter train filled with gushing water.

Environment Canada said some parts of the city had been drenched with more than 3.9 inches of rain in the evening storm, easily beating the previous one-day rainfall record of 1.4 inches in 2008.

Scores of Toronto police and firefighters used boats to rescue commuters from a 10-car, double-decker train that stalled in floodwaters that reached up to the lower windows. Murky, brown water spilled through the bottom floor of the carriages, sending passengers fleeing to the upper decks. Power was shut off and the windows were opened to provide ventilation.

“There’s a full-on river on either side of us… We. Are. Stuck. Hard,” passenger Jonah Cait wrote on Twitter.

A Metrolinx spokeswoman told the broadcast news network CP24 that about 1,000 passengers were aboard the train. Rescue workers were pulling weary passengers through the windows about 3 1/2 hours after the train got stuck.

Another passenger told CP24 that she could see people clinging to trees after abandoning their cars on a flooded highway alongside the tracks.

All of Toronto’s subway service was temporarily halted due to power and signal issues. Some stations were also flooded. Partial service later resumed but large parts of the system were still shut down.

Toronto’s flash flooding comes two weeks after extensive flooding in Calgary turned parts of the western Canadian city into a lake and forced up to 100,000 Albertans from their homes.

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