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Decoding the deadly derecho: How fierce it was in Central Canada

Monday, May 23rd 2022, 8:27 am - Saturday's derecho carved a unique path, unfortunately maximizing damage and human impact as it traversed the 401 corridor — straddling the stationary front in situ.

Tragically, the long weekend was interrupted by a destructive derecho, a long-lived wind storm, which swept across southern Ontario and Quebec.

It's a relatively rare event. There were notable derechos in the mid-to-late 1990s impacting southern Ontario, but this one was different. This derecho carved a unique path, unfortunately maximizing damage and human impact as it traversed the 401 corridor — straddling the stationary front in situ.

SEE ALSO: Derecho leaves roughly 1,000 km of damage, fatalities in its wake

DERECHO: BY THE NUMBERS

1,000,000+ power outages: Widespread power outages impacted southern Ontario, including more than 300,000 customers on the Hydro One grid. The province of Quebec reported more than half a million customers were without power.

Approximate 1,000 km damage path: From the first reports of damage in the state of Michigan to the high-end winds north of Trois-Rivières, Que., the trail of damage stretched to roughly 1,000 km.

Uxbridge, Ont., damage/Mark Robinson (Mark Robinson/The Weather Network)

132 km/h: The Kitchener/Waterloo Airport, in southern Ontario, experienced the strongest wind speed measured during the derecho. That's the equivalent of a Category 1 hurricane. There were reports of higher wind gusts in Quebec, but the consistency of the data couldn't be verified.

90+ km/h: The speed the derecho moved was approaching highway speeds, making for an even more dangerous situation. Kitchener-Waterloo recorded a 130 km/h wind gust around noon, and in 60 short minutes, the system was already producing damaging winds across the city of Toronto.

8+ hours: The first damage report was triggered just as the squall line crossed into Canada, near the St. Clair River in Michigan. The final damage reports occurred after 6 p.m. when the system lifted into southern Quebec.

As a result of the destructive derecho, there have been multiple deaths and injuries reported.

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