Rain strands driver, lifts drain covers
A brief but powerful downpour Thursday trapped a car in a flooded east-end underpass, swamped residential basements and caused street drains to fountain water.
Hamilton was under a severe thunderstorm watch for much of the day Thursday, with heavy rain falling unevenly across the city. The watch ended shortly after 3:30 p.m.
Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said that by noon 13 millimetres of rain was measured near John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, while 22.4 mm was measured near the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Amateur measurements taken at other nearby spots and posted online show upwards of 50 mm, he added, noting that a range of rainfall amounts is typical.
City spokesperson Jasmine Graham said the brief deluge spurred visible “surcharging” — basically water spewed up in the air — from a handful of street drains, and around six residents reported basement sewer backups.
The sewage treatment plant on Woodward Avenue also briefly had to allow partially treated sewage to flow directly into Red Hill Creek to avoid widespread sewer backups from extra water in the sewers.
A catch basin blocked by trash and debris also contributed to flooding under the Birch Avenue rail bridge. A vehicle stalled while trying to drive through the flooded underpass and became stuck.
Graham said no similar problems cropped up on city streets. Hamilton has spent millions of dollars rebuilding previously floodprone underpasses at the Centennial rail bridge and another on Kenilworth Avenue.
The City of Hamilton also closed all city sports fields and diamonds (except Heritage Green No. 4) because of the weather.
As of noon Thursday, Hamilton has had 88.4 mm of rain this month, on track to reach the July long-term average of 100.7 mm, Coulson said.
A tow-truck driver tries to keep dry as he helps the owner of a vehicle that got stuck on Birch Avenue Thursday.