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Damaging fall wind storm arrives in Ontario

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By Chris Scott
Chief Meteorologist
@ChrisScottWx
Friday, November 1, 2013, 4:12 PM

A major wind storm swept across southern Ontario and Quebec overnight Thursday into Friday, with it bringing the chance of numerous power outages and scattered damage.

Meteorologists at The Weather Network have been predicting strong winds from this storm for the past few days. The latest indications suggest this storm will be one of the worst fall wind storms in a number of years.

Rain ahead of this developing system made for a soggy Halloween across most of southern Ontario and Quebec. While winds were strong at times Thursday, especially near Lake Erie and Ontario, the main wind event is expected through Friday.

If you have a home barometer, you’ll see the pressure falling dramatically as the low centre approaches. In fact, computer models are suggesting this system will be a meteorological ‘bomb’ – a term used to describe a low pressure system that drops roughly 24 millibars (or 2.4 kPa) in 24 hours.

Storms that deepen this quickly almost always have strong winds as air rushes towards the ‘vacuum’ of low pressure – think of your ears popping as you go up a mountain or up in an airplane; that’s higher pressure air moving out of your inner ear towards the lowering air pressure around you. The winds won’t be so much of a sudden pop, but more of a building growl throughout the overnight Thursday for southern Ontario. In fact, there may even be a few thunderstorms along the cold front as it sweeps through in the pre-dawn hours. Winds will peak Friday morning around the Great Lakes, with the peak for the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Valleys coming late morning into the afternoon.


STORM WATCH: Tune into The Weather Network on TV for LIVE coverage of this developing system.


IMPACTS

A typical wind storm across the Great Lakes features wind gusts of 90-100 km/h. Wind gusts of this magnitude typically bring down tree limbs and uproot some older trees causing scattered power outages.

Friday’s wind storm will produce gusts above 100 km/h, potentially even to hurricane force (120 km/h) near the Lake Huron/Georgian Bay shoreline and into Greater Montreal.

With saturated soil, numerous older trees will likely come down Friday. Power outages are most likely in rural parts of Ontario, throughout Cottage Country, and in older city neighbourhoods where electrical lines are close to large trees.

Unlike a winter storm, major highways across the area including the GTA will not be severely impacted, aside from possible restrictions to high profile vehicles on the Burlington Skyway. However, any power outages in cities could snarl traffic on local roads. 

The worst hit areas are likely to be near Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. There may be some minor structural damage to homes as any loose shingles, eaves troughs or siding could be peeled off. Construction sites could also suffer damage in strong winds as partially erected structures may topple in the wind. Even tractor trailers can be pushed over by winds in excess of 100 km/h. Bridges connecting Montreal to the South Shore will be treacherous.

Tweet your updates using the hashtag #onstorm. You can also upload your photos and videos to our website.

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