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Two tornadoes touch down in Quebec

Staff writers

May 26, 2012 — Two tornados touch down in Quebec following an intense line of thunderstorms across eastern Ontario and southern Quebec Friday night.

The line of storms that developed in Ontario and Quebec Friday
The line of storms that developed in Ontario and Quebec Friday

Environment Canada has confirmed the first two tornadoes of the season in the province of Quebec.

The first one - a F0 - touched down in Brownsburg-Chatham at 8:00 p.m. local time on Friday. Two grain silos were destroyed and dozens of trees were uprooted as the tornado tore through the region, bringing winds of 120 km/h. 

The second twister touched down 15 minutes later, about 40 kilometres east in St. Benoit De Mirabel. Buildings were destroyed and Fresniere road was rendered impassible due to scattered debris. At the peak of the storm, winds reached between 130 and 150 km/h.

Several funnel clouds were also seen in and around Salaberry deValleyfield.

"In order for Environment Canada to confirm a tornado, they need some kind of evidence -- whether that be from photos or videos, or from evidence collected by a damage survey," explains Gina Ressler, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Dark clouds were also reported in the Ottawa area
Dark clouds were also reported in the Ottawa area

"If Environment Canada has received a lot of damage reports from the public that they think might have been caused by a tornado, they'll send out a team to survey the damage."

At the height of the crisis on Friday night, nearly 30,000 people were without power, mostly in the Laurentians and the Outaouais areas. By Saturday morning, power had been restored to most communities.

The intense line of storms had a violent history before it made its way into southern Quebec. After a day of scorching hot and humid weather, a line began tracking through eastern Ontario. In the late afternoon hours, Environment Canada issued tornado warnings for some communities west and north of Ottawa. 

No tornadoes have been confirmed in Ontario, but there were ominous looking clouds spotted by our viewers. Heavy rain and lightning was also reported in the city of Ottawa. 

An 18-year-old man in Ottawa passed away Saturday after the tree he was standing under was struck by lightning Friday evening.

A four-storey apartment had its roof  blown off by the storm -- and five other buildings reportedly suffered from water damage. Three people have been displaced and firefighters have secured debris to prevent further damage. 

The worst of the storms are now over for Ontario and Quebec, but should active weather fire up again, Canadians are reminded of these tornado safety tips:

  • Seek shelter
  • Find a small interior room, like a basement or a bathroom
  • Never try to outrun a tornado. 

Wondering what to expect throughout the weekend? Be sure to check The Weather Network's Canadian Cities Index.

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