Tornado causes severe damage in Ottawa region
Published Monday, April 27, 2009 6:28PM EDT
Environment Canada says a weak tornado was likely the cause of extensive damage left behind by a wicked storm that tore through the Ottawa region over the weekend.
The agency says after interviewing eye-witnesses and surveying the destruction left behind by the storm, an F0 tornado, which is the weakest of its kind, likely touched down in the capital on Saturday. An investigation is ongoing.
- Check out a photo gallery and watch EXTENDED COVERAGE of the storm's destructive path
Two days after the storm's fury ripped through the region, some neighbourhoods were still cleaning up after the massive storm uprooted large trees and ripped off many roofs, effectively displacing several residents from their homes.
While Ottawa only reported 1.6 millimetres of rain on Saturday, winds howled across the city. Gatineau recorded the largest gust at 96 kilometres per hour.
"I looked out of the window and all I could see were the trees bending at a 90-degree angle (and) huge gusts of wind," said Leslie Stenning, a west Ottawa resident.
"You could hear it blowing like a tornado. I looked at this building here and I could see was (the roof) being ripped off like a can of sardines."
In Ottawa's Carlington Park neighbourhood, resident Christiane Corneau described the storm as something she never expected to see first-hand.
"It was so quick and it was so shocking," Corneau told CTV Ottawa on Monday.
"I came to the front window and all I see in the front . . . it looked like a big fire in front of my house. Big trees were just pulled right out of the ground and I never -- in the 36 years that I've been on this Earth -- ever experienced anything so frightful."
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The storm caused some lasting damage at a Morriset Avenue apartment building, where roof damage forced all 30 residents to seek alternative arrangements until at least Tuesday. Many are being helped by the Canadian Red Cross.
Three residents of a Britannia duplex were also forced to leave their home. At nearby Britannia Park, dozens of old white pines were uprooted as if they were young saplings.
The storm also knocked out power to 10,000 Hydro Ottawa customers, along with several thousand more people across eastern Ontario.
In Gatineau, emergency workers dealt with hundreds of calls for fallen hydro lines, trees, torn roofs, and collapsed scaffolding on construction sites.
Twenty-two small aircraft at Rockcliffe Airport were also damaged, ranging from Cessnas to Cherokees. More than half are now considered complete write-offs. The Rockcliffe Flying Club will be closed for at least one more day.
Crews were also spotted clearing away debris from fallen trees and damaged tombstones at the Beechwood Cemetery on Monday.
Despite the extensive damage, officials say no serious injuries were reported.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Natalie Pierosara