Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for much of southern Ontario ahead of Saturday storms

Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for much of southern Ontario ahead of storms expected Saturday afternoon.

The weather agency is warning of the possibility of large hail, damaging winds and torrential rain.

Many areas in southern Ontario already saw plenty of rain on Saturday.

“The weekend started off wet in the GTA and the Golden Horseshoe,” said Global News meteorologist Ross Hull. “Ten to 20 mm of soaking rains fell in Toronto and across the GTA with heavier amounts around Hamilton and Niagara (20+mm) due to thunderstorms.”

The heavy rain led to some problems in the Toronto area, with Hwy. 427 northbound being closed for several hours at Finch Avenue due to flooding.

The rain has also led to further challenges for Toronto Islands, which continue to deal with flooding as a result of extremely high water levels in Lake Ontario.

Hull said the next band of storms is expected throughout southern Ontario between 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m Saturday.

“The first round of widespread rain is over, but this afternoon ahead of a cold front there is the potential for thunderstorms in the GTHA and parts of southern Ontario,” he said.

“Some of these storms could turn severe with hail, strong winds, and heavy downpours possible which could bring more localized flooding … they should be out of the area by the 8:30 p.m. at the start of the Raptors game for those watching outdoors at Jurassic Park.”

Conditions are expected to improve on Sunday with dry conditions and temperatures reaching around 23 C expected in the Toronto area.

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