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Two more tornadoes confirmed in Ontario from destructive derecho

Saturday, May 28th 2022, 10:42 am - The Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) confirmed Friday that two tornadoes struck London, Ont., during last weekend’s destructive derecho -- bringing the total to three so far -- as thousands remain without power a week later.

Two tornadoes hit London, Ont., last Saturday as a destructive derecho swept through southern Ontario.

Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) confirmed on Friday that two short-lived EF-1 tornadoes struck London along the leading edge of the derecho as it powered through southern Ontario on Saturday, May 21.

London, Ontario Tornadoes May 21, 2022 2


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The first funnel touched down at 11:36 a.m. in Huron Heights, a neighbourhood on the northeastern side of London. This twister produced EF-1 damage as it hit an apartment complex and the London International Airport.

(UGC/Angie Wozniak) Plane flipped by tornado in London, Ontario An airplane flipped over by an EF-1 tornado at London International Airport during the derecho on Saturday, May 21, 2022. (Angie Wozniak/Submitted)

NTP reports that the tornado damaged an apartment building’s roof, a hangar at the airport, and even flipped a small airplane.

Based on the damage, surveyors estimate that the tornado’s maximum winds reached about 160 km/h. It remained on the ground for 5.7 kilometres and reached a maximum width of about 450 metres.

The second tornado occurred a few minutes later on the southern edge of London in the Wilton Grove neighbourhood. This tornado snapped and uprooted multiple trees and caused significant damage to the roof and wall of a warehouse building.

(NTP/Permission Granted) Tornado damage in London, Ontario Large trees uprooted by the first tornado to hit London, Ont., during Saturday’s derecho. (Northern Tornadoes Project)

This tornado, with maximum winds estimated around 175-185 km/h, cut a path measuring 3.4 kilometres long with a maximum width of about 400 metres.

Friday’s confirmation of two additional tornadoes brings the count during the historic May 21st severe weather event to at least three, counting in the EF-2 tornado that caused significant damage in Uxbridge, Ont., about 55 km northeast of Toronto.

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Investigators continue to survey the widespread damage left behind by the intense derecho to see if there were any other tornadoes along the leading edge of the line of thunderstorms.


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THOUSANDS STILL IN THE DARK A WEEK AFTER DESTRUCTIVE STORM

The derecho on May 21 left a trail of destruction from southwestern Ontario to southern Quebec. A derecho is a long-lived, particularly intense squall line that can produce damage across a path measuring hundreds of kilometres long.

Winds gusted as high as 190 km/h as the derecho swept through the region, knocking down countless trees, damaging homes and businesses, and severing power to more than a million residents. Tragically, at least 10 people lost their lives as a result of the storm’s significant damage.

A week after the event, thousands across Ontario and Quebec are still without power. In Quebec, more than 18,000 customers are still in the dark as of Saturday morning, according to the provincial power agency.

Following the destructive thunderstorms in Ontario, Hydro One crews have restored power to more than 720,000 customers. Due to the severity of damage caused by the storm, including more than 1,900 broken poles and countless downed trees and power lines across the province, some customers in rural, remote and island locations in the Perth and Bancroft areas will be without power for several more days, Hydro One said.

In the Tweed area, a small number of customers may be without power for several more weeks. The current number of customers without electricity in Ontario is more than 25,000.

"We understand how difficult it is to be without power and we are doing everything we can to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible," Hydro One stated on its website.

Thumbnail courtesy of Angie Wozniak in London, Ont.

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