Ontario's 5th tornado of season comes after wicked storms
Monday, August 15, 2016, 2:23 PM - Environment Canada has confirmed Ontario's fifth tornado of the season took place on Aug. 13, and the agency is investigating a potential sixth tornado from the same day.
The officially-confirmed tornado, an EF-1 twister with estimated winds of 150 to 175 kilometres per hour, tore a path through the Port Bolster area on the southeast shore of Lake Simcoe. Environment Canada says it caused "considerable damage" to large trees and structures, with a path of 2.4 km.
Investigators are also looking into another potential tornado, which Environment Canada said may have caused some crop and tree damage in Ashburn, north of Whitby. The agency say it may have been at EF-0 strength.
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Other major wind events from the day were later found to not be tornadoes, but were still powerful and destructive.
In Wellesley, a downburst blew down a structure with three people inside, causing minor injuries. Winds were estimated at around 100 km/h, or EF-0 equivalent.
In Oshawa, a powerful downburst damaged several homes and downed trees.
Durham Region Police Service Staff Sergeant Dan McKinnon told DurhamRegion.com Saturday that up to 100 properties may have been damaged.
"The good news is that there’s been no injuries at this point and right now we’re in recovery mode and just trying to help the people the best we can," he told the website.
Four previously confirmed tornadoes so far
Between late April and early October, Ontario sees an average of 12 tornadoes per year. Aside from Aug. 13, here are the confirmed twister numbers so far:
- March 16, 2016: Ontario's first tornado of the season touched down near Mount Forest, Ontario on March 16. According to Environment Canada, this is the earliest in the year a tornado has ever touched down in the province. The twister is said to have travelled for 3.5 km, causing damage to three grain bins and a barn and uprooting several trees. It touched down about 7 km northeast of Clifford at approximately 3:30 p.m. Winds were estimated to be 170 km/h.
- July 1, 2016: Canada Day was wet and stormy for many, and in eastern parts of Ontario, the storms turned severe enough to spawn at least one tornado. Environment Canada confirmed the province's second tornado of the year touched down over Buckhorn in Peterborough County Friday afternoon, based on video evidence. No significant damage was associated with it, and no injuries were reported.
- July 1, 2016: Swift Rapids, southwest of Gravenhurst, also saw a confirmed tornado on July 1. The damage inflicted by destructive winds gusting up to 120 km/hr garnered an EF-0 rating for the twister, based on an investigation by the weather agency.
"Eyewitnesses report seeing a funnel cloud in the area at approximately 3:30 p.m. on July 1 and there was video evidence," Environment Canada said in a statement. "The on-site investigation confirmed a narrow damage path about 30 metres wide, along the lakeshore.
- August 11, 2016: An EF-0 tornado touched down in Delaware, near London, with estimated peak winds of 90 km/h. Four properties were reported damage, and the damage path was approximately 50 m long and 10 m wide.
Only Environment Canada can officially confirm a tornado.
With files from staff writers.
SOURCES: The Weather Network | Environment Canada | DurhamRegion.com