Environment Canada: 6 tornadoes hit Ottawa area last Friday
As a sense of normalcy began to return to the Ottawa area on Tuesday following the Sept. 21 tornadoes, Environment Canada is now saying six twisters are to blame for the severe damage and lengthy power outages that have swept the region.
The federal agency says the six tornadoes -- three in eastern Ontario and three in western Quebec -- reached gusts of up to 265 kilometres per hour as they destroyed several houses, buildings and power lines.
Environment Canada had previously confirmed the presence of a an EF-3 tornado which tore through the rural Ottawa neighbourhoods of Kinburn and Dunrobin before moving on to Gatineau, an EF-2 tornado between the Arlington Woods and Greenboro neighbourhoods and an EF-1 tornado in the Calabogie, Ont. area.
After looking through satellite images of the area, the agency confirmed additional tornadoes in Val-des-Bois, Que., near the Baskatong reservoir about 30 kilometres east of Mont-Laurier, Que. and another one 25 kilometres north of Otter Lake, Que.
Each of these additional tornadoes have been classified as EF-1 and primarily tore through woodlands.
The six tornadoes combined to destroy more than 50 homes in Ontario, mainly in the Dunrobin area. More than 200 buildings were damaged or destroyed in Gatineau. Ten people were injured in Calabogie, paramedic chief Mike Nolan told reporters.
“We had a number of people struck by debris … as well as people that had trees actually fall on them,” he said.
The community also saw a significant amount of toppled trees and damaged roofs. A number of items flew out of Joanne Leclaire’s home, with many landing in a nearby wooded area. Her wedding ring, which had been on her coffee table prior to the storm, has not turned up.
“Thank God there was nobody seriously hurt and everybody’s OK. The rest of it we can deal with,” Leclaire told CTV Ottawa.
Hydro Ottawa said shortly before 7 a.m. that the number of its customers in the dark had fallen to 850 -- down from 3,500 one day earlier. Hydro-Quebec was reporting an additional 741 properties without power in the Gatineau, Que., area.
Blackouts affected nearly 450,000 properties at their peak, Hydro One communications director Jay Armitage told CTV’s Your Morning.
“It really is an incredible amount of damage,” she said. “There were lines in the Ottawa area where 16 poles in a row were ripped out of the ground.”
A transmission station suffered a direct hit from one of the tornadoes, temporarily knocking most of the city offline.
Armitage said efforts to restore power and rebuild infrastructure were “all hands on deck,” with more than 1,000 people working in the area Tuesday morning. Hydro crews and contractors were being brought in from around the province.
Power would be restored to most properties remaining in the dark by Thursday morning, Armitage said, while people living on islands in the Ottawa river might need to wait until the end of the week.
Ottawa’s two major English-language school boards reopened almost all their schools Tuesday, while federal government employees who had been asked to work from home on Monday were allowed back into their offices. Most city-run facilities also returned to regular service. Additionally, “almost all” traffic lights knocked out by the storm had been restored to normal operation, city officials said Monday night.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Megan Shaw