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Funnel cloud forming around 3:30 p.m. local time on Canada Day in Swift Rapids.

Ontario's third tornado of the season confirmed

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, July 27, 2016, 3:19 PM - Environment Canada has confirmed Ontario's third tornado of the season touched down near Swift Rapids, southwest of Gravenhurst 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.

The Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale ranges from 0 to 5, with rankings based on wind speeds and the amount of damage observed on the ground once the storm has passed.

"Eyewitnesses report seeing a funnel cloud in the area at approximately 3:30 p.m. on July 1 and there was video evidence," says Environment Canada. "The on-site investigation confirmed a narrow damage path about 30 metres wide, along the lakeshore."

Severe storms impacted parts of central and eastern Ontario on Canada Day. A previous investigation allowed Environment Canada to confirm the province's second tornado of the season over Buckhorn Lake, north of Peterborough. However, an EF rating was not established for this twister.

The weather agency says there were several other areas in the vicinity that had suffered storm damage.

"Areas from Sunderland to Lindsay were attributed to downbursts," says EC. 

Several downed tree branches were found and a local Canadian Tire was damaged. Further east, strong storms prompted severe thunderstorm warnings in the Ottawa area. At one point, Ottawa Hydro reported over 10,000 power outages.

The first tornado of the season, an EF-1 that touched down in Minto in March, uprooted several trees and damaged a barn and grain bins. Environment Canada said at the time it was the earliest confirmed tornado on record in Ontario.

The province sees 11-13 tornadoes annually, based on a 30-year average. Eight were confirmed in 2015.

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