Environment Canada issues severe thunderstorm watch for southern Ontario

TORONTO – Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says the city is as prepared as it can be for more possible violent weather later today.

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch alerting people of the potential development of severe weather this afternoon or evening for the Greater Toronto area, southwestern Ontario, south central Ontario and eastern Ontario.

It says winds as high as 90 kilometres per hour are possible as well as hail two centimetres in diameter and heavy downpours of up to 50 millimetres of rain in an hour.

The new weather system was pushing in from the United States as Toronto continues to recover from severe flooding caused by record-setting rainfall Monday night.

Ford says he’s “absolutely” worried about the upcoming storm but the city is prepared with “all hands on deck.”

He also says the city is doing all it can to get power restored for people who’ve been without electricity since Monday night.

Toronto Hydro says 9,000 customers are still without power, down from 300,000 at the height of the outage, but Ford says residents of the city need to continue efforts to conserve power.

“People have to conserve, they have to, they’re doing these rolling blackouts unfortunately, but that’s the only thing they can do to keep the power on,” Ford told reporters today.

“People are listening, people are trying. And if we get hit again tonight, you can’t control Mother Nature, so everyone just has to batten down the hatches and conserve energy.”

Blackouts are primarily in the city’s west end.