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Toronto, GTA under severe thunderstorm watch

TORONTO – Environment Canada has issued a severe thunderstorm watch for a large portion of Ontario, including Toronto and the GTA, Wednesday.

Click here for a full list of the affected areas.

According to the weather agency, “thunderstorms are expected to develop early this [Wednesday] afternoon or this evening due to an approaching cold front.”

The affected areas could receive rainfall amounts of 50-80 millimetres during a one-two hour span. The thunderstorms could also produce winds of 90 kilometres and hour or higher, as well as hail.

A heat alert remains in effect for Toronto, while a humidex advisory continues for the city and the GTA.

Toronto’s medical officer of health issued the heat alert for Toronto on Tuesday, and it was extended on Wednesday. It’s the first heat alert since mid-July.

The humidex advisory covers most of southern Ontario.

In Toronto and the GTA, the forecast calls for a high of 31 C, but it will feel more like 40 C with the humidity.

680News meteorologist Jill Taylor said the forecasted rain and thunderstorms for the afternoon and evening will cool things off considerably.

“Slight chance of thunderstorms 3-5 p.m., 5-8 p.m. that’s when we’re looking at scattered thunderstorms — some of which could be severe — then after 8 p.m. and through the overnight hours, some showers, so rather wet as we move through the evening,” Taylor said.

The temperature is expected to return to “near seasonal values” by Thursday, Environment Canada said.

“A lot cooler Thursday and especially Friday — by the time we get to Friday, the high is just 14 C,” Taylor said.

In Toronto, Tuesday’s high was 34.1 C, but it didn’t break the previous record of 34.8 C, set on Sept. 10, 2002 at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Two temperature records were broken elsewhere in the GTA — 35 C at Buttonville Airport and 32.9 C in Burlington.

During a heat alert in Toronto, the public can stay cool by going to air-conditioned places. Click here for a list.

The last time Toronto was under a heat alert in September was on Sept. 3, 2011. An extreme heat alert was issued on Sept. 1, 2010 — marking the first time in 10 years that an extreme heat alert was issued in September.

According to Taylor, these types of temperature swings are not unusual as autumn approaches.

The GTA can expect to see warm-ups followed by cool downs over the next couple of weeks.

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