In 2016, a 68-year record for Ontario's earliest tornado broken

On this day in weather history, Ontario saw its earliest tornado.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.


On March 16, 2016, Ontario was surprised with its earliest tornado on record. For Ontario, winter is still the predominant force in March, but an area between Mount Forest, located in the township of Wellington North, and Clifford, got hit with a tornado instead of a blizzard.

As a result, it took the record from Windsor, which was hit with a tornado on March 19, 1948.

tornado  damage

Damage caused by the March 16, 2016 tornado

In 10 minutes, tornado travelled 3.5 km and spanned up to 200 metres wide. The tornado measurement system has changed since 1948, but on the Enhanced Fujita scale, the 2016 twister was registered as an EF-1 (out of an EF-5).

Content continues below

The tornado ripped through grain bins, metal sheds, and hundred-year-old trees. As well, one farmhouse had windows shattered and incurred minor damage to its roof. Two farms near the intersection of Minto Normandy Town Line and Ayton Road were especially hard hit by the tornado.

Click here to subscribe to This Day in Weather History

March sometimes likes to joke around with Ontario, giving the hope of spring before temperatures dip back to winter weather. But 2016 was even warmer than usual, with temperatures reaching double digits.

tornado tree

Damage caused by the March 16, 2016 tornado

A non-severe thunderstorm was overtaken by another line of storms, enhancing the local shear in the environment, allowing for the formation of a brief tornado. Aside from the tornado, the system also produced thunderstorms, showers, and more than two feet of snow in Thunder Bay.

To learn more about Ontario's earliest tornado on record and how El Niño or La Niña patterns impact events like this, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

Subscribe to 'This Day in Weather History': Apple Podcasts | Amazon Alexa | Google Assistant | Spotify | Google Podcasts | iHeartRadio | Overcast'