Intense winds cause chaos, trees on fire, hydro wires on cars, windows broken
Motorists and first responders are dodging downed power lines, trees on fire and bumper to bumper traffic as high winds howl across the region.
The most serious incident appears to be on Bayview Avenue, south of St. Johns Sideroad, where eight hydro poles have fallen, one on a Honda CRV with reports of people being trapped inside.
Trees are on fire and explosions have been heard near 10934 Warden Ave. Trees are also on fire at McCowan Road south of Bloomington Road.
Lanes are closed at 15th Sideroad and Bloomington, for fallen trees. The windows at Shoppers Drugmart on Yonge Street in Newmarket have been broken and there has been damage to the rail crossing at Davis Drive and Green Lane, police added.
Leslie Street between Stouffville Road and Bethesda Side Road is temporarily closed as a tree has fallen across the road. Drivers are asked to avoid the area.
York Regional Police Staff Sgt. Dave Mitchell said motorists are being asked not to leave the house if possible, to remain patient while in traffic, not to touch live wires and when traffic lights are out, treat intersections as four-way stops.
Environment Canada has issued a wind warning that remains in effect for northern York Region.
Newmarket and Georgina are expected to see strong winds, as well as northern Durham Region in Uxbridge and Beaverton.
The agency says strong wings may cause damages as wind gusts will reach speeds of 110 kilometres per hour. The winds are a response to a cold front moving through the region.
Alectra Utilities says its expecting higher volumes in its phone lines, with a total of 20,000 customers across the Greater Toronto Area without power as of 5 p.m. An earlier power outage in Vaughan affected 5,000 residents.
The high winds are expected to weaken later this evening.
Damage to buildings, like roof shingles and windows, may occur. Strong winds can toss loose objects and break tree branches. Be cautious while driving with windy road conditions.
Environment Canada issues wind warnings when it expects a significant risk of damaging winds.