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Major wind storm for southern Ontario, Quebec Friday

Chris Scott
Chief Meteorologist

Thursday, October 31, 2013, 9:10 AM -

A major wind storm will sweep across southern Ontario and Quebec Friday, likely leading to power outages and scattered damage.

The strongest winds will follow on the heels of an area of low pressure which is organizing across the U.S. plains states. Well ahead of this system, rain is pushing into southern Ontario and Quebec for Hallowe'en.

While winds will be strong at times Thursday, especially near Lake Erie and Ontario, the main wind event is expected overnight Thursday into Friday. If you have a home barometer, you’ll see the pressure falling dramatically as the low centre approaches Thursday night.

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.

TRICK OR TREAT 2013: Tune into The Weather Network on TV for the Halloween edition of the GTA drive home show, starting at 3 p.m. EST on Thursday. Hosted by Jaclyn Whittal and Suzanne Leonard.

The winds won’t be so much of a sudden pop, but more of a building growl throughout the overnight Thursday for southern Ontario. Winds will peak in the early a.m. hours Friday around the Great Lakes, while the peak for the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Valleys will be late morning into the afternoon. 

Strong winds are a guarantee, but what remains to be seen is just how strong the winds will be.

It appears at this point that winds will gust above 80 km/h over much of southern Ontario and may reach close to 100 km/h along the Lake Erie and Ontario shorelines.

This would be enough to cause some tree damage and power outages, especially in older neighbourhoods where leaves still remain on trees. 

An even greater threat for damage exists farther east, especially around Montreal.

Wind gusts may reach hurricane force (120 km/h) on Friday. 

Winds of this magnitude can cause minor structural damage ( to shingles and eves, etc.) and can even topple tractor trailers (so beware of the Jacques Cartier bridge).

As wild as Friday may prove to be, conditions will rapidly improve by evening.

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