Hurricane Irene takes swipe at Toronto flights

Dozens of flights to and from Toronto have been cancelled as Hurricane Irene pounds the east coast of the United States.

Pearson International Airport says more than 80 flights arriving in and departing from northeastern American cities, including New York, Washington, Philadelphia and Boston, have been called off.

Porter Airlines, which flies from Billy Bishop Airport in downtown Toronto, has cancelled its Newark and Boston flights for Saturday and Sunday, and is warning that some flights into and out of Moncton and Halifax might be affected.

Meanwhile, Environment Canada has issued various weather warnings —including heavy rain and wind — for southern Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

The Category 1 storm is forecast to move up the eastern seaboard in the United States on Saturday night and into Sunday before entering Canada, where it will weaken as it tracks across northwestern New Brunswick Monday morning, the agency says.

A tropical storm warning was issued for the Bay of Fundy coast and parts of Nova Scotia Saturday afternoon as winds are expected to reach up to 100 km/hr by Sunday, while some regions may see up to 100 mm of rain by the end of the weekend.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax says the heaviest part of the downpour could fall within a two to four hour period, which could lead to flash floods and hydroplaning for drivers.

Heavy rainfall has also been issued for Quebec’s eastern townships, and much of P.E.I. and Labrador are expected to see significant rains and winds on Monday.

The federal government is urging Canadians in the affected areas to exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

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