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Active tornado season in Ontario?

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

April 29, 2011 — With increased instability in both Ontario and the U.S., meteorologists are keeping a close eye on the potential for more severe weather through the month of May.

Severe damage in Grimsby, ON
Severe damage in Grimsby, ON

Severe thunderstorms erupted in southern Ontario earlier this week leaving widespread damage across the region. Environment Canada said there was some possible tornadic damage in a few locations.

“We did have some eye witness reports of people seeing funnel clouds and we did have some rotation being indicated on the Doppler Radar in some of these areas as the squall line went through,” says Geoff Coulson, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist at Environment Canada.

As residents and survey teams began to assess the damage from Wednesday's storm, ferocious winds charged through the area on Thursday. High winds are said to be responsible for the death of a man in Grimsby. Extensive damage was reported as winds gust over 100 km/h in some places.

Deadliest tornado outbreaks in the U.S.
Deadliest tornado outbreaks in the U.S.

The same low pressure system that has been bringing instability to Ontario has had a deadly and devastating impact on the southern U.S. 300 people died after Wednesday's storms ripped through.

The U.S. has been no stranger to severe weather this April and that has some Canadians wondering what the upcoming months will be like.

“The concern we would have in southern Ontario is: Is some of this energy that produced these storms going to work its way a little further north during the month of May?,” says Coulson.

“It's something we're definitely going to be keeping a close eye on to round out this month and into the month of May next week. Knowing that our temperatures are going to start creeping up a bit, knowing there is that possibility we could see more unsettled conditions in the area, for sure this is something we will be monitoring very closely.”

Residents are urged to keep a 72 hour emergency kit on standby as the active weather picks up.

“The kit that will help you, your loved ones and your pets to be able to work through three days of a disaster,” says Dan Hefkey, Ontario Commissioner of Comnunity Safety.

To stay up to date on the weather in your area, be sure to check your local forecast. You can also sign up to have watches and warnings sent to your cell phone.

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