Tornado warning lifted for Hamilton; thunderstorm warning stays

Environment Canada lifted the tornado warning for Hamilton, but the thunderstom warning stays.
A driver, Holly Ferguson, pulled over near the Hamilton airport and posted a picture of the storm to Twitter. (Twitter)

Environment Canada lifted the tornado warning for Hamilton, but the thunderstorm warning is still in effect.

The storm that moved through the city shortly after 6 p.m. came with a heavy downpour, hail in many places and high winds, knocking out power, and downing trees and branches across the city.

The Weather Network reported winds up to 104km during the storm at the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport. Around 8 p.m., heavy rains started again.

After the first downpour, Hamiltonians were sending photos of post-storm rainbows just after 7 p.m.

Rural Hamilton was harder hit. Michelle Balfon, a Carlisle resident, told CBC Hamilton she watched rain circling outside through her window, something she has never seen before.

"When the lights went I got the kids and ran," she said.

The thunderstorm warning is expected to last through Friday evening until after midnight. Saturday's weather is back to being sunny, with a high of 27 degrees.

Staff Sgt. Michael Spencer said all his officers are tied up assisting Fire services, dealing with trees and wires down, and directing traffic.

"Right now, we're urging people to stay at home and off the roads," he said.

A picture on Twitter shows a tree through the front of a car in Flamborough. The driver was reportedly taken to hospital.

Around 8:30 p.m. Friday night, Horizon Utilities is reporting major power outages in Flamborough, Waterdown and west Hamilton, as well as outages on the central mountain. On Twitter, downtown Hamiltonians are also reporting outages.

Warm temperatures

The advisory comes as temperatures veered into the 30s for a fifth consecutive day. Readings at Hamilton International Airport hit 33.4 C on Thursday afternoon, beating the previous record for July 18 — 33.0 C, reached on that day in 1986.

According to Dave Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, Hamilton "could see two days in a row with record-breaking heat," with a high of 33 C expected for Friday.

"The previous record was 32.5 degrees in 1991," he said. "It's pretty impressive to break a daily record two days in a row. It is, on all counts, a heat wave."

What's also striking, he said, is how warm the air has remained after the sun has set.

Nighttime temperatures this week, he noted, have hovered in the 20s.

"It's feeling hot and humid right around the clock."

If people think they haven't seen this before, they have bad memories.

However, the current heat wave isn't unprecedented, Phillips said.

"This year, Hamilton has had eight days when the temperature has been above 30 degrees. At this time last year, you'd had 20 of those suckers," he said.

"If people think they haven't seen this before, they have bad memories."

Some relief from the high heat is in store for Hamilton this weekend. Environment Canada is predicting sunny and partly cloudy skies and temperatures around the mid-20s for Saturday and Sunday.