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Thunderstorm watches and rainfall warnings are in effect, with some forecasters warning of a tornado risk.

Strong storms due in Ontario, with tornado potential

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Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Tuesday, July 8, 2014, 1:41 PM -

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Rainfall warnings and severe thunderstorm watches were in effect in southern Ontario Tuesday afternoon, as potentially powerful storms began to move into the region.

The Greater Toronto Area and the National Capital Region were both included in the storm watches, while rainfall warnings were also in effect in much of the southwest, including London and the regions of Peel and Waterloo.

"Some of these thunderstorms have the potential to become severe with large hail, damaging winds and torrential rainfall," Environment Canada says.

Environment Canada says the areas under rainfall warnings could see as much as 75 mm of rain by 4 p.m.

Some southwestern cities were already seeing some stormy weather in the early morning hours, but the risk for strongest storms begins in the mid afternoon into the evening.

Aside from strong winds and heavy rain, some forecasters see a chance of tornadoes from some of these storms later in the day.

Technically, any thunderstorm is capable of producing a tornado if conditions are right, but the risk today is heightened by humidity that will make it feel close to 30 across the region.

Ontario has seen several tornadoes so far this season, with most of them coincidentally happening on a Tuesday.

The best examples were a June storm that produced two tornadoes, one of which damaged dozens of homes in the community of Angus, and on Canada Day, when a tornado warning was briefly issued that included parts of Ottawa and Gatineau.

July 8, incidentally, is the one-year anniversary of major flooding in Toronto, on a day when Pearson Airport recorded its rainiest day ever.

Around 126 mm of rain fell at that station that day, around 5 mm higher than the previous record, set in October 1954 during Hurricane Hazel.

The flooding that ensured prompted numerous water rescues in Toronto, along with damage to homes and infrastructure that resulted in preliminary insurance claims of around $850 million.

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