Southern Ontario under flood watch as storms bring month’s worth of rain today

Cars were up to their doors in water after flooding covered Toronto's Don Valley Parkway in May. After days of recurring storms, as much as a month's worth of rain is expected to have fallen over southwestern Ontario by tonight, and much of southern part of the province is under a flood watch as a result.

The situation isn't as grave as it was in southern Alberta, just a week ago, mainly because there's no Rocky Mountains for this weather system to try to climb.

However, forecasters are calling for up to 50 mm of rainfall today from this slow-moving weather system (which is, on average, about as much as the city of Kitchener-Waterloo gets for the entire month of June). Rainfall warnings were initially issued this morning, stretching from the central shores of Lake Erie up to the Bruce Peninsula (although they've been called off since), and there are plenty of severe thunderstorm warnings popping up, here and there, across southwestern Ontario due to stronger storm cells 'embedded' in the bands of rain.

As of this afternoon, images of torrential rainfall started showing up on Twitter,

along with reports of heavy rainfall across southwestern Ontario, including (but not limited to) Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, and parts of Toronto.

[ Related: Severe flooding shuts down Toronto’s Don Valley Parkway ]

With the rain amounts forecast only around 2 inches, that may not seem like a lot, but just like what happened in Alberta, it all comes down to how much versus how long.

With this 'small' amount of rain falling over an equally 'small' amount of time, you're already going to have some issues with how much the ground can soak up. Add to that the fact that Ontario has seen persistent recurring storms over the past several days, which means that the ground is already nearly saturated, and so most of that water is going to end up flowing directly into streams and rivers.

This is why the Ministry of Natural Resources issued a flood watch for most of southern Ontario.

Based on what's coming in from social media sources, it looks like Kitchener-Waterloo and the surrounding area is seeing the heaviest downpours, as people post reports of flooding and people having to abandon their cars in the streets,

and their backyards flooding in only 15 minutes,

and even Toronto is seeing its fair-share, as Lake Shore Blvd starts to live up to its name,

and the area of Finch Ave. W and Sentinel Rd has been closed due to flooding.

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So, should residents of southern Ontario be heading for higher ground? Are we going to see flooding just as bad as they saw out west?

Based on what we're seeing now, it certainly couldn't hurt to stay out of low-lying areas, but there's no reason to panic. There is some localized flooding, and it could cause some problems. It's really not anything that the area hasn't dealt with before.

Still, pack an umbrella today, check back here for updates, and, as always, be careful out on the roads.

(Photo courtesy: Amber Gero/Twitter)

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