It remains unclear whether any tornadoes blew through the Ottawa region on the heels of Saturday’s powerful storm.
Western University’s Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) is investigating the aftermath of the deadly storm that blew across southern Ontario and Quebec, but analysis will take time.
The NTP said on Twitter crews were in Uxbridge, Ont. and south Ottawa on Sunday to analyze the extent of the damage but, “Given the complexity of the damage due to the derecho, it will require thorough analysis in order to classify and rate the event.”
Crews are also headed to Rawdon, Que. Monday for another investigation.
NTP Executive Director Dr. David Sills told Newstalk 580 CFRA on Monday that he alerted authorities to the power of the storm as it passed through London, Ont., where he is based.
“It blew through the London area and then I knew this was pretty serious and started putting out information saying, ‘Hey, take this more seriously,’” he said.
The Alert Ready system issued an alert Saturday in the Ottawa area just before the storm approached.
The kind of storm that passed through is known as a “derecho”, and is rare in Ontario, Sills said.
“The last big one that went through southern Ontario that caused damage like this was in the ‘90s. So, it’s not a typical storm for us,” he said. “They do get them quite often in the U.S., but here, if we see it once every five or 10 years, that’s about normal.”
Sills said there was enhanced damage in Uxbridge, northeast of Toronto, and in southern Ottawa, which led teams to investigate whether there was a tornado embedded in the derecho. Teams collected data in Uxbridge Sunday, but are back in Ottawa Monday for additional research.
“It’s a lot easier when you’ve got someone who has seen a tornado or has video or a photo so you know what you’re dealing with. There’s been absolutely no photos of funnel clouds with this,” he explained. “What the teams are doing is going to the worst areas of damage, trying to measure up the intensity there and then work out from there a maximum width for the area and a length and by that we should be able to determine if this was a tornado or not.”
Wind speeds reached up to 120 km/h in Ottawa and 100 km/h in Uxbridge, according to Environment Canada.
Sills said it will take time to fully analyze what happened for any evidence of tornadic activity.
“This is a multi-day event for us, as far as going out and doing storm surveys. It’s not very typical for us to have to do that. The last time we did that was the Ottawa area tornadoes in 2018. This is a big event,” he said.
The NTP was in the Casselman area earlier this month, and confirmed an EF0 landspout tornado that did not do any damage.