NEWS

Fierce Winds 'No Joke' As Damage Mounts In Toronto

11/24/2014 05:22 EST | Updated 01/24/2015 05:59 EST

Powerful winds brought down tall trees in Toronto on Monday, while the gusty weather knocked out power to thousands in the city and tens of thousands more across the southern part of the province.

The city was put under a wind warning during the afternoon, as Environment Canada forecast sustained winds of at least 60 to 70 km/h for much of southern Ontario.

Hours later, the wind was still howling. And by the supper hour, Toronto had already seen gusts reaching 80 km/h in some cases and the sort of damage that results.

Late Monday afternoon, Dai Williams tweeted a photo of a three-storey office-building window near College Street and Manning Avenue that was damaged by wind, as well as a car windshield that got hit by the falling debris.

"This wind is no joke," she tweeted.

Williams told CBC News that nobody in her office was hurt.

The wind was still going strong hours later.

Dave Fraser saw a cardboard box fly horizontally past his window, on the third floor of a building near Yonge and Bloor streets.

The wind blew a door off its hinges at a Fabutan tanning salon on the Danforth, near Jones Avenue.

Sarah Elias told CBC News that she was in the store when the wind first pushed the door open before it "came off completely."

Elias said the the door has been put back in place for the night until someone can make a full repair on Tuesday.

'I felt the ground tremor'

Josh Welsh tweeted a photo of a tall tree that fell onto a sidewalk on 16th Street, near Kipling Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard West in Etobicoke.

Similar pictures of damage in other areas of the city were popping up on social media.

Adam Bisby said a tree came down about 12 metres from his home office on Lynd Avenue, in the Dundas Street West and Roncesvalles Avenue area, damaging four vehicles parked outside.

"I felt the ground tremor when the branches fell," Bisby said on Twitter.

A few kilometres away, a downed tree a few blocks north of High Park on Pacific Avenue made for a popular photo on social media.

Power outages and road closures were being reported throughout Monday evening.

Shortly before 8 p.m. Toronto Hydro reported that some 10,000 customers were without power in the north end of the city, as well as in the west end. Power outages were also being reported in parts of York Region and beyond by Power Stream, a local utility co-owned by the municipalities of Barrie, Markham and Vaughan.

Hydro One reported some 400 outages affecting 87,000 of its own customers.

A downed hydro pole caused the closure of several lanes along the Queensway, near Kipling Avenue, after the supper hour.

Earlier in the evening, police closed a section of Lake Shore Boulevard between Albert Avenue and Mimico Avenue because of blowing debris. The area from Superior Avenue from Stanley Avenue was also closed at one point.

Provincial police reported that a construction sign had blown over in the left-hand lane of a stretch of Highway 407, west of Markham Road, during the evening rush hour.

On Monday, police were reminding the public to steer clear of any downed power lines — and not to tweet any pictures of damage while they are driving.

By the early evening, police and paramedics in Toronto were reporting a higher than average number of calls as a result of the winds whipping through the city.

As usual, the city's residents took to Twitter to poke fun at the weather taking place in Toronto.

Outside of Toronto, high winds were causing problems in Kitchener-Waterloo, where hundreds of customers were without power as of the supper hour. Wind-related damage to some city bus shelters was reported along with reports of downed trees.

The wind also damaged trees and property in Hamilton on Monday.

Environment Canada expects the winds to "slowly diminish" through the final hours of Monday evening or early Tuesday.

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