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Flash flooding traps Toronto train passengers, stalls rush hour traffic

By Ed Payne, CNN
July 9, 2013 -- Updated 1721 GMT (0121 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: "So much rain in so little time," a resident says
  • Record rains flood Toronto
  • Passengers are evacuated from a partially submerged commuter train
  • Drivers abandon their vehicles

(CNN) -- Toronto's rush hour Monday turned into anything but -- as a deluge from a summer storm inundated the city, swamping commuters whether they traveled by rail or by road.

Passengers on a double-decker Go Transit train found themselves dead in the water when a flash flood submerged the line, leaving them ankle-deep in the murky mess and in need of rescue.

"These trains are capable of carrying quite a large number of passengers," said transit spokesman Mark Ostler. Evacuations lasted into the early hours of Tuesday as passengers shimmied out train windows and into rescue boats.

"(S)tranded passengers on board ... were safely removed and taken to a place of safety," police said.

iReporter drives through flooded Toronto

The heavy rain quickly overwhelmed Toronto's storm sewers, sending the Don River out of its banks. Almost 5 inches of rain fell at Pearson International

Airport, breaking a record set in 1954, according to Environment Canada. Nearly 4 inches fell in the heart of the city.

The Don Valley Parkway looked more like a parking lot than Toronto's main north-south artery as drivers abandoned their vehicles while the waters lapped at their headlights, CNN affiliate CTV reported. The thoroughfare was closed in both directions overnight.

A pricy Ferrari was one of the casualties, left by its owner to soak in the bumper-high pool of an underpass.

The storms also caused power outages and flooding across the city.

Toronto flooding was like 'end of the world'

At the storm's height, Toronto Hydro reported some 300,000 residents were without power across the greater Toronto Area, according to CTV.

"My power outage lasted for about five hours, but luckily, my neighborhood didn't have any flooding issues," said Angie Filipowich in neighboring Mississauga. "So much rain in so little time. I don't ever remember seeing all this flooding here ... ever."

Are you there? Share photos, video, but stay safe

Police advised residents to stay put overnight, reminding them that if they do travel to avoid standing water, downed power lines and to watch for rising rivers, streams and lakes.

Brakes disabled before train exploded in Quebec town, railway chief says

CNN's Cristy Lenz and Tina Burnside contributed to this report.

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