Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Toronto Area

A severe thunderstorm watch is now in effect for the Greater Toronto Area, while some parts of Ontario are under tornado watches.

“Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms that may be capable of producing strong wind gusts and large hail,” Environment Canada said Thursday.

The agency said the storms could include wind gusts of 90 to 110 km/h, as well as nickel to ping pong ball-sized hail.

Elsewhere in Ontario, tornado watches are in effect for a number of areas, including Ottawa, Bancroft, Bon Echo Park, Tweed, Smiths Falls and other areas.

The storms come as much of Ontario sees hot, muggy weather.

A high of 30 C is expected in the city today, with a humidex of 37.

Heat alerts are in effect for most areas west of the GTA, including Hamilton and Niagara, where it could feel as hot as 40 with the humidex.

“Extreme heat continues to bake southwestern Ontario and is spilling into the GTA today,” CP24 Meteorologist Bill Coulter said.

The hot weather comes ahead of the possible thunderstorms.

“The first of a couple of cold fronts will push through midday today, possibly triggering a few showers over the GTA between 11-2:30 p.m.,” Coulter said. “Clearing will ensue behind the cold front this afternoon and a drier wind will pick up late in the day and through the evening.”

Environment Canada said storms are expected to cut the heat in some areas.

“While hot and humid conditions will persist today, locales that receive showers and thunderstorms may be slightly cooler,” the weather agency noted in a heat warning issued for the City of Hamilton. “Conditions will improve this evening.”

The extreme heat is expected to subside Friday, though it will still be warm, with a high of 26 C, feeling closer to 30 with the humidex.

“Much less humid and more manageable weather for Friday. The weekend will be cooler with loads of sunshine,” Coulter said. “A few showers arrive on Monday with warmer winds returning by midweek.”

Highs of 19 C and 20 C are expected Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

Toronto Animal Services put out a reminder on Twitter for people not to leave animals in parked cars because of the extreme heat.

“It’s going to be hot today! A reminder to NEVER leave your pet in a parked car. Leaving your pet in a hot car for even a short time can be dangerous, even with windows cracked & in the shade. If you see a pet in distress due to the heat, please call 311,” the agency said.

The city has a cooling network available for anyone who needs relief from the hot, muggy weather.

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