Massive storm wreaks havoc on Ottawa and environs
Published Sunday, April 26, 2009 12:52PM EDT
A fierce combination of rain and wind tore through Ottawa Saturday night, tearing roofs off homes, trapping people in vehicles thanks to felled trees, and leaving thousands of residents without power.
After several hours of bucolic sunshine and high temperatures in the capital, the thunderstorm arrived at about 7 p.m. with torrential precipitation and wind gusts of 90 kilometres per hour, according to Environment Canada.
An official severe thunderstorm warning for Ottawa ended one hour later, but not before police issued a request for drivers to avoid roads in the city's west and central areas due to downed power lines and trees, broken traffic lights, and falling debris from buildings.
About 10,000 Hydro Ottawa customers remained without power Saturday night, according to a spokesman. Crews were dispatched across the city, with the outages centered on two areas: between Bronson Avenue and Lincoln Fields in the west end, and between Rockcliffe Park and Orl�ans along the Ottawa River east of downtown.
Hydro Ottawa has no estimate of when service will be fully restored.
Trees, hydro lines sent to ground; roofs damaged
As the rain subsided, reports flooded into authorities of damage left behind.
In the west-end Carlington neighbourhood, a woman was taken to hospital after a tree smashed into a vehicle at 1093 Silver St., near the Central Experimental Farm. Children were reported trapped in a separate vehicle nearby. And fire fighters battled a tree on fire at about 8 p.m. at 1320 Kingston Ave.
A man in the ByWard Market was treated by paramedics after being struck with a flying piece of metal.
Roofs were blown off homes in Brittania and Vanier, while other homeowners were shocked to find trees resting on top of their residences. Other west-end streets were closed after being blocked by uprooted and broken trees.
And 14 planes were damaged at Rockcliffe Airport, with several completely destroyed. The Rockcliffe Flying Club also sustained damages.
The storm was so powerful that it only took a few hours to travel from Sarnia and Lake Huron to the capital region, according to Arnold Ashton, an Environment Canada meteorologist.
"The intensity of the line was somewhat surprising," Ashton told CTV Ottawa. "(But) with such heat and humidity building up, a strong thunderstorm wasn't unexpected."
There were unofficial tornado sightings, but no official confirmation.
Storm covers all of eastern Ontario and Outaouais
Considerable structural damage was also reported in Gatineau and surrounding areas, which recorded the highest gust of 96 kilometres per hour at 7:38 p.m.
A severe thunderstorm watch remains in effect across portions of the Outaouais as of 9:30 p.m.
At least 6,000 Hydro One customers across the rest of eastern Ontario lost power earlier in the day as the storm moved through the region.
According to Hydro One, service was expected to be restored to most homes by 10:30 p.m. The outages were centered on Renfrew County, North Hastings, and the Tweed area.
In Calabogie, Highway 511 is closed south of County Rd. 508 due to downed Hydro lines.
The storm also caused power outages across southern Ontario. Toronto's Pearson International Airport recorded wind speeds of 115 kilometres per hour at 5 p.m. -- the strongest gust there since 1978.
Did you experience the full brunt of Saturday's rain and wind storm? Share your stories with CTV Ottawa by posting comments below, and send us your photos and video through MyNews or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org