A line of severe thunderstorms triggered by a cold front ripped through northwestern Ontario late Tuesday afternoon. Radar from one cell indicated some rotation, and through photo and video evidence, a tornado was later confirmed.
The twister was seen at both the Dryden and Sioux Lookout Airports between about 4:15 pm and 5:45 pm. People in Lac Seul watched in amazement as the tornado spun past.
Environment Canada said the tornado's track was about 80 km long and stretched from west of Kenora to Sioux Lookout.
Experts from Environment Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources performed a helicopter flyover of the area on Wednesday to assess the damage and determined the twister was an F0 on the Fujita Scale. Winds likely topped out at 110 km/h. Video footage shot by the MNR showed numerous downed trees, but no significant damage.
“We saw trees that were scattered in every direction; that is what you’d expect to see in a tornado with a circular air flow,” explains Mitch Miller, an information officer with the MNR.
“In a straight-line wind event, all the trees would be laying in the same direction.”
About 300 hectares of forest were flattened, raising concerns that the damaged area will be more susceptible to fire.
More severe weather fired up in the region Wednesday afternoon as the cold front tracked east.
Tornado warnings were issued for both Timmins and Kapuskasing when some strong cells raced through. The area remained under a tornado watch for several hours Wednesday evening. No tornadoes or funnel clouds were reported.
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With files from Alexandra Pope