Strong winds cause extensive damage in Ottawa-area
Ottawa police say they've received hundreds of calls after powerful winds swept through the region Thursday, knocking down several large trees, ripping off roofs and causing drywall to fall off one downtown building. Thousands of people in the region are also without power.
Environment Canada issued a wind warning for the Ottawa-area early Thursday afternoon. It was called off early Thursday evening. Areas near Belleville, Kingston, Brockville and Cornwall were also under a wind warning. Wind gusts in some areas reached 100 kilometres per hour.
Damage has been reported across the region. Trees are down, power lines have fallen and patio furniture has been thrown around. By 4 p.m., Ottawa Fire Services had responded to at least 75 calls about downed trees and power lines.
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In Aylmer, a downed tree crushed an SUV like a pop can. A grandmother and her two grandchildren managed to escape uninjured.
Also in Aylmer, four teenagers on a job placement were injured by a wind sheer. Their injuries are believed to be minor.
In Ottawa, paramedics say several people were injuries by flying debris.
A 26-year-old woman broke both her legs when she was hit by a falling tree as she walked near Parkdale Avenue and Hamilton Street, west of downtown Ottawa. She is in serious but stable condition in hospital.
Paramedics say two elderly women were also injured in separate parts of the city when the wind knocked them down. Both women are in hospital with serious head injuries.
Paramedics say two construction workers were also injured when a fence fell on top of them at a construction site on Gladstone Avenue. Only one worker required further treatment in hospital. He's in stable condition.
In downtown Ottawa, slabs of drywall fell from a Bank of Montreal building on Laurier Avenue. No injuries were reported.
The storm is also being blamed for a house fire in the Alta Vista area. Firefighters say it looks as though the fire started when the wind pulled hydro lines off the house.
Sweeping power outages, boil water advisory
Power has been knocked out across the region. Nearly 20,000 customers in Ottawa were without power Thursday afternoon. There are also power outages in other parts of eastern Ontario and west Quebec.
Residents in southwest Ottawa are dealing with another problem. About 1,000 residents in Munster Hamlet are under a precautionary boil water advisory because of the storm.
The city says power outages caused pressure to drop to the city's water distribution system. Residents must now boil water for at least one minute before consuming it.
At the Ottawa International Airport, the wind has caused several flights to be diverted. Airport officials ask travellers to check the status of their flight with their carrier or on the airport's website.
The strong winds followed heavy rain in the Ottawa-area on Wednesday night. The stormy weather brought Ottawa's total rainfall for the month of April to more than 160 millimetres. The average rainfall for Ottawa in April is 60 millimetres of rain.