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Two tornadoes confirmed in eastern Ontario

Staff writers

July 19, 2012 — Record temperatures helped to fuel severe storms in parts of Ontario and Quebec on Tuesday. Environment Canada has now confirmed that two tornadoes touched down.

Tornadoes hit Ontario
Tornadoes hit Ontario

Environment Canada is confirming that two tornadoes touched down in eastern Ontario Tuesday. 

One, likely an F1 tornado, hit the Athens area near Brockville. The other, an F0, touched down near Summerstown, east of Cornwall. 

"That brings the total tornado count in Ontario to 5 so far this year," says Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

The latest twisters were a result of intense storms that tore through the region on one of the hottest days of the year. 

"Due to the high heat and humidity there was a lot of energy for these storms to work with," says Dayna Vettese, another meteorologist at The Weather Network.

On Tuesday afternoon, Environment Canada issued nearly two dozen tornado watches and warnings in Ontario and Quebec as thunderstorms moved through. All were dropped by 6:30 pm ET.

At one point, more than 15,000 customers were without power across central and eastern Ontario.

Damage in Athens, ON (courtesy Matt Smith)
Damage in Athens, ON (courtesy Matt Smith)

Damage is widespread in the Athens area, with large trees having toppled onto homes, cars and roads. Dozens of trees were also brought down in the Summerstown area. 

Ken Carkner describes the damage to his relative's property in Athens. "The wood shed was torn off its house...and fences were tipped over and there's hydro lines and telephone wires hanging all over the place and trees leaning on cars and houses...Everybody's kind of shocked and it's just a big mess to clean up."

At around 8:30 pm, another round of storms fired up in southern Ontario.

That prompted Environment Canada to issue a series of severe thunderstorm warnings for Stratford, Listowel and Kitchener, in addition to the thunderstorm watches already in place for a large part of the GTA.

The risk of storms continued through the overnight hours before conditions improved early Wednesday.

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