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Thunderstorm watch lifted in Southern Ontario as GTA's post-storm repairs continue

A woman walks back to her flooded car after discovering that the firetruck behind her had suffered the same fate on the Toronto Indy course on Lakeshore Boulevard in Toronto on Monday, July 8 2013.


Power companies are breathing a sigh of relief after severe thunderstorm warnings for a wide stretch of southern Ontario were lifted Wednesday night.

Environment Canada had issued severe thunderstorm warnings, alerting people of the potential development of severe weather in southern and eastern Ontario, but lifted many of those notices later Wednesday night.

The Greater Toronto Area, which was badly battered by Monday's storms, appears to have avoided another bout of extreme weather.

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The storm had caused power outages for 300,000 Toronto Hydro customers.

As of Wednesday night, 300 customers were still without power but Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Tayna Bruckmueller said a break in the weather would allow repairs to continue efficiently.

"If another storm were to come through, that would mean we'd be (repairing) on a more intense level, as opposed to focusing on customers who've been without power for 48 hours," she said.

Bruckmueller said repairs might go into Thursday morning depending on the extent of the damage.

Toronto Hydro is urging customers to conserve energy so the system can recover from the impact of record rainfall and flooding. The power grid is running on a temporary "single-contingency, no back-up" situation, Bruckmueller said.

"If we overload, a piece of equipment fails or a raccoon chews on something, we're in the same situation again," she said.

Monday's storm was an example of how the system is "at the mercy of environmental factors," Bruckmueller said, adding that it speaks to the need for improved infrastructure and better response planning.

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Hydro One spokeswoman Tiziana Baccega Rosa added that while the mild weather is welcome, it doesn't mean things are back to normal.

"Does that mean we're out of the woods here? No. Our crews are still working around the clock" at two damaged Toronto stations, she said.

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