OTTAWA — Strong winds uprooted trees and damaged homes, but nobody was injured when a tornado touched down in the Ottawa area Sunday evening.
“There are no reported injuries at this time,” the statement said, adding the following roads are closed because of debris: Jeanne D’Arc Boulevard between Tenth Line Road and Trim Road, Highway 174 between Cameron Street and Trim Road. “There are also several residential streets impassable due to debris and fallen trees.”
Tornadoes strike east end of Ottawa area
Environment Canada issued tornado warnings in eastern Ontario and western Quebec after someone spotted a twister near the Gatineau Airport just before 6 p.m. Officials later confirmed that a twister touched down in the suburb of Orleans, in Ottawa’s east end.
The warning, which was lifted about two hours after it was issued, came amid a small but powerful storm that brought damaging winds, hail and intense rainfall.
Debris closed several streets, including a major highway, but the city said they had all reopened by about 9 p.m.
“There was a lot of toppled trees, a lot of cars damaged, homes damaged by this thing,” said Marc Messier, a firefighter who lives in the neighbourhood affected by the tornado.
Cumberland Coun. Stephen Blais was returning to Ottawa by train when the tornado hit. Asked what this latest weather incident might mean in terms of emergency preparedness for the municipality, Blais noted that the city was already in a state of emergency because of severe spring flooding.
“You never would have known anything happened at my house, but even a block away there was some damage,” he said. “We were fortunate here.”
Messier was out for a drive with his grandson when the tornado struck, he said, and that they had to pull over to the side of the road for a time while waiting for the twister to pass.
The capital region was hit by several tornadoes less than a year ago, which flattened neighbourhoods and did severe damage to the power grid.
“We’re not used to getting these things here, but now we’ve had two in a matter of months and I hope it’s not a new trend,” he said.
The Distress Centre of Ottawa and Region, which offers 24/7 crisis and distress phone lines, noted that twisters like the one that touched down on Sunday can affect those who experienced the twisters in 2018.
Ottawa Public Health noted that stressful events like tornadoes can affect people’s emotions. The agency urged those who need support to seek it out.
@BlacksWeather Ottawa Tornado! Captured by my husband Joshua Bastian. Ek! He was even hit by a mattress. @CBCOttawa @cbcotttraffic @CBCAlerts @ctvottawa @CTVOttMornLive pic.twitter.com/F1j2CIsHDP
Ken McGrath, director of operations for the Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, said there was no reported damage to the airport. “We just had a little bit of hail. Everything went south of us, toward the (Ottawa) river.”
Residents in Ottawa's east end neighbourhood of Orléans are assessing the damage from a major storm Sunday evening that saw a tornado rip through the region.
A single tornado was spotted near the Gatineau airport, just on the other side of the Ottawa River, at 5:55 p.m., Environment Canada said.
At around, 6:35 p.m., a tornado was spotted near Saint-Pascal-Baylon, Ont. moving east at 40 km/h, with another viewer seeing a tornado off the Ottawa River. A second Environment Canada press release states that Ontario towns, Rockland, Clarence and Wendover were also being affected.
The weather agency later said around 8 p.m. that a possible tornado had also been spotted near L'Orignal, Ont., moving east at about 30 kilometres per hour.
"But regarding its intensity, its precise track, all these different details, we'll have to be on the ground. And these [questions] will be answered tomorrow morning."
The weather agency had placed the city of Gatineau, as well the Papineau, Que., area to the northwest and the municipality of Prescott-Russell, Ont., to the east under a tornado warning as the tornado was moving along the Ottawa River.
All three warnings have now been lifted, although severe thunderstorm warnings remain in place in certain parts of the region.
We still have Septembers incident in our minds, Messier said. This isnt something we see often in the Ottawa area and unfortunately it seems to be something becoming more frequent.
In Ottawa's Orléans neighbourhood, trees were uprooted and several homes were damaged by the storm, fire officials said.
Greg Laidlaw said he was downstairs in his Balsam Drive home when he suddenly heard the wind pick up.
"We just took cover," he said. "It was kind of scary but it wasn't that bad. I'm sure people got hit worse."
They said when they assessed the damage afterward, they found they had no structural damage to their home.
"The trees started to bend and the wind howled," David Robb said. "I didn't know if it was a down draft … or a tornado, but it sure wreaked its vengeance on us in a short period of time."
Ottawa paramedics said they handled a single "minor" call about a branch that fell on a resident's head while they were cleaning up debris.
While the tornado's precise track is still being investigated, many Orléans residents reported seeing it touch down, said Orléans Coun. Matthew Luloff.
Despite the damage to buildings, Ottawa police said there are "there are no known injuries at this time.
Luloff told CBC Ottawa that he'd seen extensive damage to trees and property, particularly in parts of the ward that sit along the Ottawa River.
However, the damage didn't appear as severe as what happened during the Sept. 2018 tornado strikes, Luloff said.
Highway 174 and J'eanne D'Arc Boulevard had both been closed during the worst of the storm, but they have since reopened.
The City of Ottawa said there were also reports of power outages and that first responders were performing door-to-door checks in the area.
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