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Environment Canada confrims first tornado of the season in Shelburne, Ontario

Staff writers

April 19, 2013 — A line of severe thunderstorms fired up across southern Ontario on Thursday, spawning the first tornado of the season.

Significant damage across Shelburne Thursday
Significant damage across Shelburne Thursday

Residents are picking up the pieces after a line of severe thunderstorms ripped through the Shelburne area on Thursday, a community about 100 km northwest of Toronto.

The roof of a barn about five kilometres northwest of Shelburne was completely ripped off and thrown 500 feet. Downed hydro lines and fallen trees were also reported.

On Friday, Environment Canada confirmed that a EF-1 tornado with winds between 135 and 175 km/h tore through the region Thursday evening.

"This is the first event of this nature in the province this year and also an opportunity to let everyone know that Environment Canada has now moved towards the enhanced version of the Fujita damage scale. The Americans adopted this version of the scale back in 2007," says Geoff Coulson of Environment Canada.

Dark clouds in Shelburne Thursday evening (courtesy: Seanna Lapointe)
Dark clouds in Shelburne Thursday evening (courtesy: Seanna Lapointe)

In the Town of East Gwillimbury, officials say about 20 hydro poles were knocked down on Woodbine Avenue between Green Lane and Davis Drive. Live wires were reported laying across the roadway. 

York Regional Police say the affected area will be closed to traffic for two or three days.

"A sharp cold front will cross through southern Ontario on Friday bringing the potential for some showers and isolated thunderstorms," says Robinson. "Strong winds with gusts up to 80 km/h are possible in some places as the front moves through." 

Temperatures will also take a significant dip with many areas seeing low single digit highs over the weekend.

Meanwhile, in northern Ontario, residents continue to deal with a powerful wintery blast.

Heavy snow, rain and freezing rain is making it feel more like the middle of January there. 

You can check the weather watches and warnings in your area by heading to the Alerts section of the website.

With files from The Canadian Press

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