May 31, 2010 — It was on this day 25 years ago that a deadly storm ripped through Ontario. Chris Murphy takes a look back.
It's been called the deadliest storm to hit Ontario since Hurricane Hazel. On this day in 1985 13 tornadoes were unleashed, killing 12 people and injuring hundreds others in its wake. Amazingly, six of these storms were rated F3 or greater on the Fujita scale. That means winds were gusting to 250km/h.
“We lost three churches, 65 homes were damaged beyond repair,” says Grand Valley resident Rick Taylor. The city, which is about an hour north of Toronto, faced the storm head on. The tornado stayed on the ground for over 100km. After killing two people in Grand Valley the tornado tracked towards Tottenham and finally died down near Mount Albert.
But that wasn't the end of it.
Another twister touched down farther north, devastating Barrie and the surrounding area. The aftermath from that storm was described as a 'war zone.'
Captain Kevin Mason from C.F.B. Borden was on site to help with the search and clean up efforts. He says, “my particular function along with several other military police were to actually search the rubble and have a look for potential victims in any of the houses that were hit.”
Mason described the affects as devastating. “Immediately we knew we were into something very serious.”
Trees were uprooted, cars tossed and homes destroyed. 8 people were also killed. Despite the devastation, it didn't take long for the community to join forces and rise to the occasion.
And now what's left is a memory. This day in history will be remembered as Black Friday, one of the most horrifying events from 25 years ago.
You can also catch this special program when you tune into The Weather Network on TV. It will be running throughout the day on Monday, May 31 at :12 and :42 past the hour.