Thursday, July 11, 2013

Did you hear? Toronto got some rain.

On Monday afternoon before 4:30 pm, the rain started coming down.  The sky got very dark and then a heavy, pounding rainstorm hit.  I could hear it drumming on the roof over my head.  It was the type of storm that usually passes within a few minutes.  I was expecting the sky to be clear by going-home time.  But it wasn't.

The pouring rain carried on at maximum gush for almost two hours.  After 6:15 or so it lightened up from "downpour" to "normal everyday rain", but continued to fall well into the night.  Here are some photos of what happened in Toronto on Monday evening.

I didn't realize what was going on outside my workplace until the power went out.  That got my attention.  Then I left to catch a bus, and found traffic barely crawling along the streets because none of the traffic lights were working.

Only once I was on the bus did I realize, from the chatting of people around me, that the entire Greater Toronto Area was affected by major flooding and power outages.  I called Ken to let him know that I was OK and on my slow way home.

Most of the intersections were a mess.  At a major one, the only one I had to cross on foot, a good Samaritan was energetically directing traffic, bless him.  Stores were closed.  Gas station pumps were out of service.

When I got home, Ken was merrily barbequing dinner.  He was wearing a headlamp like a miner, which he switched on when he came inside.  He's a bit of a survivalist, so he always has disaster preparedness essentials on hand.  We have more flashlights than we need, and heaps of spare batteries.  He had the laptop set up playing music off battery power.  Sometimes I think that he enjoys these opportunities to make use of all his gear.

I read by flashlight until 9:30 pm, and then went to bed.  With no AC it was warm and humid inside and out.  I lay awake by my open window, listening to the endless rain.

We were fortunate to get our electricity turned back on later that night.  Some areas in Toronto, as of this morning, did not yet have power, and others were being subjected to rotating blackouts.  Our lives are just not designed to work without electricity.  My home seemed less like my home and more like a well-appointed cave, until lights came back on.

10 comments:

LL Cool Joe said...

We have quite a few power cuts here, and sometimes they can last for hours. I hate them. You just don't realise how much you rely on power until you don't have it.

I'm glad you didn't have to wait too long for yours to be restored.

wigsf3 said...

Toronto needs to redo its entire sewer system. It's far too dry a climate for this frequent flooding.

DarcKnyt said...

Wow! How nasty!

We've had few power outages where I live, but in one place farther south, I was subject to them almost every time there was a major storm. I feel ya!

And no A/C? AUGH! You handled it well. And barbecue to boot? W00T! ;)

Warped Mind of Ron said...

Glad it wasn't to horrible for you. I mean BBQ and a quiet evening doesn't sound to bad.

Sparkling Red said...

Joey: I've been very lucky when it comes to electricity access. Even the big blackout of 2003 which took down the entire northeast (relative to the U.S.) only lasted overnight where I was living at the time. Others went for a week or more without power at that time.

Wigsf: I can't speak to the sewer system, but for sure my workplace needs to redo our roof. We almost ran out of buckets.

DarcKnyt: Fortunately our upstairs neighbour has a balcony that overhangs our patio, sheltering the BBQ area. Ken produced a yummy dinner without getting soaked.

Ron: Yeah, it could have been way worse. I'm a habitual reader so spending the evening with a book wasn't a problem for me. Ken on the other hand, is used to having the laptop and the TV on at the same time. He eventually said, and I quote: "Well, I guess I'll have to resort to books." And so he did. :-)

Vanessa T said...

It's been 2 or 3 years since we had a power outage like that. It really makes me admire even more the things our pioneer ancestors accomplished without electricity.

I'm glad you're okay! And that you got a great meal in the bargain, to boot. :) Your beloved's one smart guy to be prepared like that!

Vanessa T said...

Holy Toronto, Batman! Was just looking at the pictures at the link you posted. Scary stuff!

Sparkling Red said...

Vanessa: Yes, there is a fine line between paranoid and prepared. My guy definitely likes being able to show people that he's on the right side of it. :-)
And aren't those pictures nuts? I've never seen the Don Valley river flood over the road like that in my lifetime. I was joking with people at work that day that I was going to swim home, but it looks like some people literally did just that!

Lynn said...

Wow! Everyone looks fairly cheerful about the whole thing in the pictures.

I know - I hate it when the power is out - you can't even charge your phone!

Jenski said...

That's crazy! Hope you are all dried out now!