Since I'm getting a huge number of hits for this story I originally posted in January of 2009, I thought I'd repost it.
During the night of October 15, 1954 Hurricane Hazel pelted Toronto with rain and killed 81 people.
Toronto residents were getting used to rain and wind. It had been raining heavily for a few days and the ground was sodden. Although the previous day’s news had included information about a hurricane named Hazel moving northward across the United States, most residents were unworried.
Hurricanes usually died-out before reaching as far inland as Toronto and the local weather office issued only a mild warning about the storm. Residents of Toronto carried on with their lives as usual, spending the rainy night at home.
But Hazel did not die out. Instead, the storm combined with a heavy, rainy weather that was moving east across the prairies. Here the storm picked up extra moisture and zigzagged crazily across the continent, making it the most erratic hurricane in history.
Three hundred million tons of water fell as Hurricane Hazel swept through Toronto. During the day and night of October 15, some areas of the city received a record amount of rain: eight inches (that’s wider than this page) or one hundred eighty millimetres fell in twenty-four hours. This rainfall, added to the already soaked ground, caused the most severe flooding recorded in Canadian history.
By the time the rains stopped, 81 people had lost their lives to the flooding. Many people were stranded as highways and bridges around the Toronto area washed out. Traffic was completely blocked for days.
The most dramatic results of the storm occurred along the Humber River and Etobicoke Creek, in Toronto's west-end. On one street alone, Raymore Drive, 35 neighbours were drowned.
Raymore Drive was a pleasant suburban street of one and two-storey cottages nestled along the river. Although the river often flooded in the springtime, there had never been a fall flood. But during Hurricane Hazel everything changed.
Water moved down the Humber River with such force that several bridges were torn from their moorings. These bridges dammed the normal flow of water and diverted the river across the floodplain close to Raymore Drive.
The floodwaters tore some houses from their pillars and swirled ever-higher around those with basements already filled with water. An eyewitness, recalls,"the homes were literally lifted off their foundations and swept away. You could hear the people screaming. Many of them were standing on top of roofs. In many cases the screaming just stopped; the homes just disintegrated, and that was the end of it."
The problem with Raymore Drive was that the houses had been built on a floodplain. The floodplain is flat low-lying land next to a river that sometimes experiences floods. Although some of the residents had seen some flooding, many didn't understand how much danger they were in.
They were faced with a split-second decision to climb onto their roofs or stay indoors. For the residents of Raymore Drive that night, that choice made an incredible difference. Thirty-two people lost their lives on their street and sixty families were left homeless.
In an effort never to repeat this tragedy, the city of Toronto turned most of its floodplain land into parks.
These articles might interest you :
One of the finest buildings in Bridgwater's shopping streets, E H Hooper is a beautiful Victorian survival. While it may offer less in the way of silk mercery,... Read moreBy Carolineld
We at Hookedblog headed along the canal out to Hackney Wick in East London yesterday to visit some friends with our camera in tow. Read moreBy Hookedblog
ART & DESIGN, CULTURE, TRAVEL
Miami is a very sensual city with the heat, the cool breezes, the ocean, blue skies, great food, cold drinks and a vibrant nightlife! The art deco style... Read moreBy Jpbrandanophoto
CULTURE, PHOTOGRAPHY, TRAVEL
Frank Turner- I am disappearedI remember Mr. Turner playing this song last time we saw him live, he explained at the time it was about a dream he had starring... Read moreBy Outroversion
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT, MUSIC
DRAGO MONIKER PROJECTS brings together an expert panel of guests exploring the ‘street art’ phenomenon and its place in the contemporary art world. A round... Read moreBy Invisiblemadevisible
ART & DESIGN, CULTURE
No visit to Amsterdam would be complete without a wander through some of the city’s most famous outdoor attractions: markets. Nearly every neighbourhood has... Read moreBy Amsterdam City Tours
DESTINATIONS, TRAVEL, VACATION
Metropolitan areas today are complex landscapes crossed daily by thousands of people who do not necessarily have local ties, but in addition to traditional... Read moreBy Architechnophilia
MOST POPULAR FROM CULTURE
- Q&A: What Injuries Can Occur With a Car Bomb? by Dplylemd
- PROMO TOUR FOR KIRA HILLINS by Stacyeaton
- Thoughts on Flight Patterns by Anovelsource
- Review: Tug of War – Foreign Fire (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) by Chicagotheaterbeat
MOST RECOMMENDED IN CULTURE
- Moon Watcher by Artbycedar
- Comicbook Submission---Brabbles & Boggitt Part I by Karl
- Summer Reads 2016 by Isabel Costello
- YA Review: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury by Literaryexploration