Alexandra Pope and Andrea Stockton, staff writers
August 26, 2011 — Environment Canada has confirmed at least two F-1 tornadoes touched down during Wednesday's intense line of thunderstorms. This pushes the province's twister count up to seven for the season.
The dynamics were all there for it to be an active night across the region -- and it was.
After a sultry summer day that saw temperatures soar near 30°C in some places, a cold front swept through, sparking severe thunderstorms.
“Right after 6 p.m., a few cells got going around Lake Huron,” says Gina Ressler, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. For hours, multiple cells rolled off the shores of Lake Huron producing severe conditions and two confirmed tornadoes.
An Environment Canada damage survey team confirmed Thursday that an F-1 tornado touched down in an area between Cambridge and Burlington. The twister spawned during the evening hours and produced peak winds between 120 and 170 km/h. The track began near Little's Corners and ended near Westover, with the greatest damage in Kirkwall. The damage track was measured at 15 km long and 300 metres wide. It was rated F-1 based on the damage assessment, which included downed trees.
EC damage teams were out again on Friday, and after substantial investigation, determined a tornado touched down in the Nairn area, northwest of London. The damage was consistent with F-1 scale winds and it occurred around 7:50 p.m. on Wednesday. The path of damage was approximately 10 km long and 300 metres wide. The twister began about 6 km west of Nairn and ended about 4 km east of Nairn. This is the seventh confirmed tornado of the season. EC continues their investigation of damage reports.
At one point, much of the Huron shore was under a tornado warning. Emergency Management Ontario issued a “Red Alert” for areas at risk throughout the night urging residents to take immediate shelter.
Included in the warning was the town of Goderich, which is still recovering from Sunday's deadly F3 twister. Residents were seen running, in fear that another twister would touch down.
“Not a soul in sight, people were rushing around trying to get to friend's homes, places that were safe,” said The Weather Network's Chris Mei who has been covering the story live since Monday. While the ingredients for rotation were there, no tornadoes were reported.
Other severe weather
A tornado may also have touched down between Parkhill and Lucan, damaging hydro lines and ripping through a campground.
The same cell produced baseball-sized hail that shattered car windows in Kettle Point.
As a severe thunderstorm rolled over Toronto, CNE organizers shut down the Midway and urged visitors to take shelter in the exhibition buildings. BMO field was also evacuated as a precaution and Wednesday night's Toronto Football Club match postponed.
Numerous flights at Toronto's Pearson International Airport were delayed or cancelled. Porter Airlines also issued a weather advisory for Toronto encouraging passengers to check their flight status.
The Weather Network received over 250 Stormline calls as the line of severe thunderstorms rapidly tracked eastward. Everything from large hail, flooding rains and damaging winds were reported.
At one point, more than 25,000 Hydro One customers in southern Ontario were without power.
For a closer look at the weather in your area, head to the Ontario Cities Index. You can also tune into The Weather Network on TV for up-to-date coverage.
With files from Jill Colton