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F2 tornado confirmed in southwestern Ontario


Environment Canada says a tornado was responsible for toppling hydro towers in Lambton County
Environment Canada says a tornado was responsible for toppling hydro towers in Lambton County

Alexandra Pope, staff writer

July 26, 2011 — Environment Canada has confirmed that an F2 tornado touched down in Lambton County Saturday. Hydro crews continue to repair eight steel transmission towers that were toppled by the storm.

Tree damage in Bright's Grove
Tree damage in Bright's Grove

It was the system many people in southern Ontario were hoping for.

A trough pushed through the region Saturday night, bringing much-needed rain to areas that have been sweltering through oppressive heat and drought conditions.

However, the resulting thunderstorms left a trail of destruction.

One cell that rolled off Lake Huron around 8 p.m. Saturday quickly intensified as it met the hot, humid air mass that has been settled over southern Ontario for the past few days, said Brian Dillon, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Environment Canada issued a tornado warning for East Lambton, Elgin and Middlesex Counties. Strong winds snapped large trees in Bright's Grove.

As the storm intensified, gusts downed eight steel transmission towers in the Lambton area, cutting power to 13,000 customers from Sarnia to London.

The amount of damage to the towers was highly unusual, as those structures are built to withstand very strong winds, said Nancy Shaddick, a spokeswoman for Hydro One.

“This isn't something we generally see,” she said.

On Tuesday, Environment Canada confirmed that an F2 tornado with wind speeds between 180 to 230 km/h touched down near Watford. No death or injuries were reported.

Another cell that popped up in the London area prompted tornado warnings for the city, as well as Woodstock and Delhi. No tornadoes were reported.

However, Environment Canada confirmed that an F0 downburst, with wind speeds in the 90-110 kilometre per hour range, was responsible for damaging trees and moving a trailer.

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