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Wednesday's damage in Ontario being investigated


Tree uprooted in Ayr, ON. Click on the photo for a look at Wednesday's storm
Tree uprooted in Ayr, ON. Click on the photo for a look at Wednesday's storm

Andrea Stockton, staff writer

April 29, 2011 — Several cities in southern Ontario are assessing the damage after a line of severe thunderstorms raced through on Wednesday.

Large hail batters southern Ontario Wednesday
Large hail batters southern Ontario Wednesday

A large low pressure system is wreaking havoc across the U.S. and has had a damaging affect in parts of Ontario as well. Several communities have been seeing heavy rain since Monday and a line of severe thunderstorms rolled through the region on Wednesday.

Dense fog in the morning hours posed a safety risk on Highway 401. And while the fog lifted through the afternoon, scattered thunderstorms in some areas still gave drivers a lot to contend with.

Danya Vettese, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, says this system brought all the right ingredients for strong thunderstorms.

“A warm front that slid through helped to drive temperatures up significantly and the warmer air is what helps to fuel the more severe storms.”

Callers to The Weather Network Stormline reported damaging winds and downed trees in the city of London Wednesday afternoon. In the community of Ayr, just south of Kitchener, it was raining so hard at one point that cars had to pull to the side of the road and wait for better visibility.

Environment Canada said the line of thunderstorms moved northeast at a rapid pace, producing winds with gusts over 100 km/h. There were reports of three brief tornadoes from two communities southwest of Kitchener as well as Fergus.

Dave Patrick of ontarioweather.com was in Fergus as the storms pushed through and says there was moderate damage reported at the Zellers and Canadian Tire there. Environment Canada is assessing the damage to determine whether any tornadoes may be confirmed.

Peak wind gusts on Wednesday
Peak wind gusts on Wednesday

While the city of Kitchener managed to avoid a direct hit, strong winds brought down a large oak tree and pinned an 11-year-old girl underneath. Waterloo Regional Police say she suffered a fractured leg. Erin Clark is a friend of the victim and said they were walking home when it happened.

“We had an announcement at school saying watch out when you're walking home because there's a severe thunderstorm and then it just happened so quickly.”

Clark adds that her friend ran ahead as the winds picked up and was quickly trapped under the tree.

A tornado warning was issued for the city of Ottawa Wednesday evening, but was dropped only 15 minutes later.

Heavy rain continued to fall in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec through the overnight hours.

In Coaticook, Quebec about 100 people were forced from their homes Wednesday after the Coaticook River overflowed and flooded several homes.

“The last of the lows pushed out on Thursday and although there will be some lingering showers through Friday, the main band of precipitation has moved out,” says Brian Dillon, another meteorologist at The Weather Network.”

To stay updated on the weather in your area, check out the Canadian Cities Index. You can also receive weather updates on your mobile when stormy conditions blow through.

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