At least two dead, more than 300,000 without power after storm Ontario

The first long weekend of the summer season tragically started in Ontario on Saturday after a powerful storm killed at least two people on its fast but intense path through the southern part of the province.

The first long weekend of the summer season tragically started in Ontario on Saturday after a powerful storm killed at least two people on its fast but intense path through the southern part of the province.

Tens of thousands of residents were also without power, according to utility company Hydro One, whose outage map showed about 1,936 outages, leaving more than 343,000 people in darkness as of Saturday night.

Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford offered his condolences to the loved ones of those who lost their lives in the storm, which saw winds of up to 132 km/h, downed trees and power lines in a part of the province stretching from Sarnia to Ottawa.

“I am very saddened to learn that two people have died in Ontario as a result of today’s severe weather,” Ford said in a tweet. “My thoughts go out to both their families and friends and I extend my condolences on behalf of all Ontarios.”

The first death occurred in the city of Brampton, Ontario, west of Toronto.

Peel Regional Police said a woman in her 70s was out for a walk when the storm erupted early in the afternoon.

She was hit by a tree and killed, police said. Her name was not immediately released.

Further west, Ontario Provincial Police said one person was killed and two others injured when a tree fell on a camper van near Pinehurst Lake in the Waterloo region.

Three others suffered non-life-threatening injuries after trees fell on two golf carts in Zora Township, police added in a later tweet.

Images posted to social media from across the province showed rubble-strewn streets and fallen trees occasionally causing damage to homes and cars.

Steve Faulkner, the operations manager at the airport in London, Ontario, said a small plane flipped over during the storm.

“There was a parked plane that was tied up and secured and the wind was actually strong enough that they broke the tires and overturned the plane,” he said.

“We’re cleaning it up now. The plane has been removed.’

The storm was fierce enough for Environment Canada to send out an intrusive emergency warning to television and radio stations and cell phones.

Environment Canada meteorologist Daniel Liota said winds of 132 km/h measured at the Kitchener, Ont. airport were enough of a risk to property and life to trigger the alert.

While gusts of such speeds aren’t that rare in isolated microbursts, Liota said the storm was unusual because it covered such a large geographic area.

“It was a big deal. It’s your top echelon of thunderstorms,” ​​he said in a telephone interview.

He said severe thunderstorms were only recently added to the warning system.

According to Alert Ready, which manages the warning system for Canadian governments, no severe thunderstorm warning has appeared on the system in the four years in which the data is listed.

To trigger a broadcast-intrusive thunderstorm warning, winds of at least 80 miles per hour must be measured, or hail at least seven inches in diameter, which is about the size of a tennis ball, Liota said.

The Environment Canada weather station at Toronto Pearson International Airport measured wind gusts of 75 miles per hour as the storm swept through the city in the afternoon.

The storm eventually made its way to Quebec, where thousands of residents were also left without power.

Hydro Quebec’s website showed about 357,000 customers without electricity as of 6:00 p.m., primarily in the Outaouais region of western Quebec and the Laurentians area north of Montreal. Residents in Lanaudière, northeast of Montreal, were also affected.

Earlier Saturday, tornado warnings were issued for several regions of southern and central Quebec.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 21, 2022.

— With files from Ian Bickis and Maan Alhmidi in Toronto

The Canadian Press

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