'Significant' Tornadic Event
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08/21/2009 10:14 AM
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Environment Canada crews are travelling to several southern Ontario communities to assess the devastation left by violent thunderstorms and to determine if spotted funnel clouds were tornadoes.
At least four suspected tornadoes left a trail of debris and damage in several southern Ontario communities on Thursday, killing at least one person.
Photographic evidence makes it almost certain that tornadoes did touch down in Durham and Vaughan, said Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell, but data must still be collected.
Tornadoes are rated on a scale of 0 to 5 that considers the amount of damage they have caused.
Officials will be looking at structural damage caused by the storms, as well as speaking to witnesses and viewing photographic evidence to determine if funnel clouds were tornadoes, Kimbell said.
"A funnel cloud might be reported but may not actually have caused or touched the ground or caused any damage at the surface so we have to do that kind of assessment," he said.
Several witness and media reports have indicated that an 11-year-old boy died at a conservation area near Durham, about 50 kilometres south of Owen Sound, during the storm. Police have declined to provide further information on the death but are scheduled to hold a media conference to update the situation in the Durham area at 9:30 a.m.
There were also unconfirmed tornado sightings Thursday near Blue Mountain, Craigleith, Milton, Markdale, Newmarket and Vaughan.
"This would probably rank as ... the most significant certainly tornadic event or [event] of that nature that I've seen," Kimbell said.
[link to www.cbc.ca]