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'Significant' Tornadic Event

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User ID: 627534
08/21/2009 04:33 AM
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'Significant' Tornadic Event
killing at least one person, downing power lines and trees and ripping off roofs in several communities.

The death occurred in the town of Durham, police confirmed without giving details. A tornado reportedly touched down in the community, about 50 kilometres south of Owen Sound near Lake Huron and 180 km northwest of Toronto.

Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson said at least three buildings in Durham suffered damage when the storm hit around 4 p.m. ET. Without confirming a tornado, the agency warned of potential twisters occurring through Thursday evening.

In the wake of eastbound storms that swept through the Greater Toronto Area, the City of Vaughan declared a state of emergency. The city just north of Toronto opened shelters for residents displaced from their homes.

About 120 seriously damaged homes in Vaughan had to be evacuated, said York Region Fire Chief Greg Senay.

The powerful storms overturned vehicles, lifted roofs off homes and pulled air conditioners out of windows.

The storm gradually lost some power as it crossed the eastern part of Ontario. Late Thursday night, the last tornado watches for the Kingston area were dropped by Environment Canada.

Severe thunderstorm warnings remained up for an area stretching from Pembroke to Ottawa and Brockville.

An estimated 69,000 Hydro One customers were reported to be without power in the wake of the storms, while Toronto Hydro said an unknown number of its customers were without power due to multiple outages.
Flights affected

The severe weather caused dozens of delays and cancellations at Toronto's Pearson International Airport.

"It's the same as any time we have a storm. It takes some time to come back to normal," Greater Toronto Airports Authority spokeswoman Trish Krale told CBC News, without elaborating on how many flights were affected.

Pearson has a policy requiring ground crews to be pulled from outside work when lightning strikes are recorded in the vicinity of the airport, she noted. "There was quite some time the ground crews were inside," Krale said.
Barn thrown

"It was a full-blown tornado, without any doubt," Durham-area resident Philly Markowitz said.

A barn on her property was picked up and thrown into her home, she told CBC News.

"The house directly across the road from me is missing a roof," she said. "The house next door to me the barn is missing. We can't find the barn."

[link to www.cbc.ca]

Last Edited by theresident on 08/21/2009 10:13 AM
theresident  (OP)

User ID: 627534
08/21/2009 10:14 AM
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Re: 'Significant' Tornadic Event
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.

'Significant' event

"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]