Widespread damage after two tornadoes hit Ottawa region
Sunday, September 23, 2018, 9:53 AM - All levels of government are joining forces to help with restoration efforts Sunday morning, two days after a pair of tornadoes ravaged through the Ottawa-Gatineau area leaving tens of thousands without power.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said Ontario Premier Doug Ford will visit Ottawa this afternoon to tour the damage. The province has also committed to launching a disaster recovery program for families and businesses trying to get back on their feet.
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"There's been great cooperation," Watson told CBC Radio's Fresh Air Sunday. "It's something I never witnessed … it's just really quite incredible the damage it did in a very short period of time."
Hydro Ottawa reported that 70,000 customers are still without power Sunday morning. Around 8,100 Hydro-Quebec customers in the Outaouais are still in the dark and a few thousand Hydro One customers in the Ottawa region are also still without power. Many of these households could be in the dark for days.
AN 'EMOTIONAL ROLLERCOASTER'
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson called the events an "emotional rollercoaster" for some communities in the Ottawa area, including Dunrobin, a rural community in Ottawa's west end that was severally hit.
Watson said that last night, community members listened intently as emergency services from the area read out the homes destroyed by the extreme weather event. Many residents were unable to go back to Dunrobin for safety reasons and were learning, for the first time, what happened to their residences.
VIDEO: TORNADO RIPS ROOF OFF BUILDING IN GATINEAU
"Many of them are in shock and disbelief," he said. "They have lost everything."
Hundreds of homes in Ottawa are either partially damaged or completely destroyed, Watson said. These families are either living with relatives or at one of the two emergency shelters set up by the city.
Around 300 traffic lights still do not work and hundreds of trees have been destroyed. Hydro crews from Vaughan, Ont. and Toronto are making their way to the city to support, the mayor said.