As global temperatures continue to rise and the world’s climate continues to destabilize, cities around the world are experiencing more extreme and unusual weather events including extreme temperatures, precipitation, droughts and storms. The incidence of extreme weather is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the years to come.

By 2050, Toronto is expected to see:

  • 44°C become the extreme maximum temperature, up from 37°C in 2009;
  • 66 days above 30°C per year, versus 20 days today;
  • four times as many extended heatwaves per year; and
  • significantly more intense rainfalls, with the daily maximum rainfall rising to 166 mm, from 66 mm.

Know the Risks, Take Action, Improve Your Resilience

Extreme weather can occur at any time, with little warning. As the City takes action to improve our overall resilience to climate change and extreme weather, it is important for residents and businesses to do the same. It’s important for you to:

  • understand the risks and potential impacts of extreme weather;
  • take steps to weather-proof your home and protect your family; and
  • access the programs, subsidies and resources available to help you.

In the future, Toronto is expected to experience much higher temperatures and more extended heat waves.

By the year 2050, Toronto is expected to see:

  • 44°C become the extreme maximum temperature, up from 37°C in 2009;
  • 66 days above 30°C per year, up from 20; and
  • four times as many extended heatwaves per year.

Heat Warnings and Extended Heat Warnings are issued by Toronto Public Health. Learn more about Extreme Heat and Heat-related illness. Toronto Public Health will issue warnings for high heat or humidity that is expected to last two or more days. During this time, heat warning information will be updated daily to reflect the current status, and people should take steps to seek cool temperatures and check on vulnerable family and neighbours to make sure they are alright.

During an extreme heat event, residents are advised to visit an air-conditioned place such as a shopping mall, library or community centre. The City also operates cooling centres to help residents stay cool. Find your cooling centre. Taking a dip in Toronto’s pools is a great way to stay cool and be safe during the hot summer months in the city. When an Extreme Heat Alert is declared, and when the weather forecast calls for low probability of inclement weather, some outdoor and indoor pools may extend their hours until 11:45 p.m.

Actions you can take now

Improving the energy-efficiency of your home will make your home more comfortable, reduce your energy use and costs, and reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change. The City’s Home Energy Loan Program offers low-interest loans for improvements such as energy-efficient furnaces, windows, doors and insulation.

Extreme heat and cold can increase your energy use and your energy bills. Toronto Hydro’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) provides a one-time grant of up to $500 (per year) to eligible low-income customers who have difficulty paying past due energy bills.

Toronto Hydro offers other programs, incentives and tips to help you save energy and make eco-friendly choices.

In addition to reducing stormwater runoff, green roofs reduce energy use and heating/cooling costs, help to cool the air and provide important habitat for wildlife. The City offers financial incentives to help homeowners install a green roof or cool roof on their property.

In addition to providing shade and helping to cool and clean the air, trees help prevent flooding and beautify our surroundings. The City will plant a free tree on the City-owned road allowance adjacent to your property. Call 311 or visit 311 online to request a free tree. Learn more.

Do you know what to do during an extreme heat event?

Review the City’s Emergency Preparedness information to make sure you know in advance what to do during an extreme heat event.

Several record-breaking rainfalls have occurred in Toronto in recent years, resulting in flooding and extensive damage to public and private property as well as public utilities, roads, transportation networks and the natural environment. Flooding can also be caused by melting snow and ice.

A record rainfall on July 8, 2013, for example, caused extensive flooding, widespread power outages and an estimated $850 million in insurance claims by residents and businesses across the GTA.

By 2050, Toronto’s maximum daily rainfall is expected to more than double, rising to 166 mm from 66 mm today.

Know your risks

The risks associated with extreme rain include:

  • basement flooding;
  • flooding and damage to public and private property, including roadways, parks and ravines;
  • disruption of transit systems and public utilities; and
  • power outages and disruptions to city-wide transportation systems, sewer and water systems, etc.

Actions you can take now

Do you know what to do during an extreme weather event?

Review the City’s Emergency Preparedness information to make sure you know in advance what to do during an extreme rain/flooding event.

Heavy snowfalls, freezing rain, sleet, hail, high winds and extreme cold can put public health and safety at risk, damage and disrupt transportation systems and other infrastructure, down trees, power lines and more. The ice storm in December 2013, for example, caused extensive damage, made travelling treacherous, and downed trees and power lines across the city, causing widespread power outages that lasted up to two weeks in some parts of the city.

Extreme Cold Weather Alerts are issued by Toronto Public Health. Learn more about the health impacts of extreme cold weather and related statistics.

Actions you can take now

Seniors and persons with a disability who live in the downtown core and need help to clear their sidewalks of snow, can apply online for the City’s snow-clearing assistance program.

Download this application form and submit it with the required documentation.

Visit PlowTO Map during the winter season (November to April), to see how the City keeps roads and sidewalks safe for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians. The PlowTO Map can help you find out when roads have been salted and plowed in Toronto.

Improving the energy-efficiency of your home will make your home more comfortable, reduce your energy use and costs, and reduce the emissions that contribute to climate change. The City’s Home Energy Loan Program offers low-interest loans for improvements such as energy-efficient furnaces, windows, doors and insulation.

Extreme heat and cold can increase your energy use and your energy bills. Toronto Hydro’s Low-Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP) provides a one-time grant of up to $500 (per year) to eligible low-income customers who have difficulty paying past due energy bills.

Toronto Hydro offers other programs, incentives and tips to help you save energy and make eco-friendly choices.

Do you know what to do during an extreme cold event?

Review the City’s Emergency Preparedness information to make sure you know in advance what to do during an extreme cold event.

Strong winds and especially gusty winds can damage property, turn loose objects into dangerous projectiles, and create unsafe conditions for walking and driving. When a wind warning is issued, winds will be blowing steadily at 60-65 km/h or more, or gusting up to 90 km/h or more.

The majority of tornadoes in Canada have maximum wind speeds under 180 km/h, but they can be considerably stronger and cause extensive property damage. Each year on average, about 17 tornadoes occur across Ontario and Quebec. The peak of the season is June through August.

Tornadoes are usually preceded by a severe thunderstorm, black skies and heavy rain. Most develop in the late afternoon and early evening but they can occur at any time, including overnight.

When severe weather threatens, Environment Canada will issue alerts in affected areas.

Do you know what to do during an extreme wind event?

Review the City’s Emergency Preparedness information to make sure you know in advance what to do during an extreme wind event.