Heavy rain traps vehicles, closes streets in Toronto

Downtown Toronto was inundated with heavy rain late Tuesday that closed several streets and underpasses due to flash flooding and prompted a dramatic elevator rescue.

Environment Canada had issued a special weather statement for the city earlier in the evening, saying between 50 and 100 millimetres of rain was expected in some locations, particularly near the lakeshore.

The federal agency said more than 64 millimetres of rain had fallen at Billy Bishop Airport in just two hours.

Police say two men had to be rescued from an elevator that was stuck in a basement in the city's north end. The water had almost filled the elevator until the men were rescued with only "one foot of air space left."

The rain also filled several underpasses, including one in north-end Toronto (near Keele St. and Wilson Ave.) that left three cars completely submerged. Police say everyone from the vehicles got out without injury.

Four cars were also trapped by rising water at a downtown underpass (Lower Simcoe and Bremner) and the police marine unit was called in to rescue the occupants. There were no injuries reported.

The deluge also caused problems at Toronto city hall. A staffer tweeted that the roof outside Mayor John Tory's office was leaking so badly that staff ran out of recycling bins and garbage cans to contain the water.

Environment Canada's special weather statement was lifted just before 11:30 p.m. as the heaviest showers moved out over Lake Ontario.