July 8, 2014 2:52 pm

City urges storm preparedness on anniversary of Toronto floods

A woman gets gets back in her car in flood water on Lakeshore West during a storm in Toronto on Monday, July 8, 2013.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO – City officials are urging residents and businesses to prepare for severe weather, as Toronto marks the one-year anniversary of an extreme summer storm that flooded parts of the city.

On July 8 of last year, record rainfall levels caused flooding and damage across the city. While the flooding wasn’t as severe as that in Alberta last June, the rising water level in Toronto took many by surprise. Up to 126 mm of rain fell in a month that gets an average of  74 mm for the entire month.

GALLERY: Some of the best photos from the Toronto floods, July 2013

On Tuesday, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly said the anniversary is a reminder that city residents and businesses need to be prepared for extreme storms.

“It’s important that residents understand what could happen during a significant weather event, and learn how they can prepare themselves and their families,” said Kelly, who is also the chair of Toronto’s Emergency Management Program Committee.

Because a severe storm can force people to stay indoors, potentially without power, for extended periods of time, officials recommend having three-days worth of supplies, including:

Officials also recommend keeping cellphone batteries charged, reminding yourself and family members of all the electrical panels, and water and gas shut-off valves in your home.

Other tips include keeping your car full of gas, making sure your home is properly insured, avoiding driving in low-lying areas where flooding is known to happen (like say, the Don Valley Parkway) and unplug or turn off all appliances if the power goes out.

More information about storm preparedness can be found on the city’s website.

City officials said Tuesday they have made significant improvements to flood-prevention infrastructure since last July’s storm, including investment in the city’s wastewater and stormwater collection systems and nearly a billion dollars for the Basement Flooding Protection Program. However, they say, more investment is needed.

With files from Global News’ Nicole Mortillaro

© Shaw Media, 2014

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