Storm plays havoc

[attach]633[/attach]A toppled tree on Chaplin Cres. was one large casualty of a fierce thunderstorm that swept through Toronto in the early evening hours of Aug. 9.

The tree, which sits on residential property near Eglinton Ave. West, was uprooted by a storm that damaged several other trees and downed hydro wires in midtown overnight.

Alex Vizvary was hosting a dinner party at home when he heard a loud crash. It was the tree that sits on his front lawn.

Standing on his driveway surveying the damage the morning after, Vizvary said he watched as a branch fell. It was shortly followed by the whole tree.

“All of sudden, bang, crash, boom,” he said. “This is the result.”

The tree, which was located on the front lawn, fell forward onto the road.

“When the big tree came down it almost hit a car,” Vizvary said.

He added the downed hydro lines started to spark, igniting bags of trash left by the curb.

Vizvary said city forestry crews arrived on scene shortly after the tree fell and began removing debris from the street.

Several neighbourhoods in Toronto were affected by power outages throughout the night and morning, said Toronto Hydro spokesperson Tanya Bruckmueller.

Most calls were a result downed wires ripped down by tree branches.

“The majority of the calls have been in the west-end, although we have seen upper midtown to North York and northeast Scarborough were the hardest hit.”

Toronto’s Urban Forestry received over 100 storm-related calls for trees or branches that had come down, said Beth McEwen, a department manager.

She noted the city’s arborists have dealt with worse.

“We thought it might be worse but it was a modest storm,” she said.

Vizvary’s tree was completely uprooted during the storm, a result McEwen said could be symptomatic of Toronto’s rainy summer season. Excess moisture near the root system causes trees to uproot rather than simply break off.

Luckily, the weather and mess outside Vizvary’s home didn’t dampen his spirits. After watching the clean-up outside his home, he began preparing for another dinner party that night.