Weekend tornado in Deep River, Ont., confirmed

Experts have confirmed a tornado touched down in Deep River, Ont., on the weekend, uprooting trees, causing minor structural damage and even flipping a boat as it blew through town.

"This was kind of a minor tornado, but still a tornado," said David Sills, executive director of Western University's Northern Tornadoes Project.

The project's storm survey team was dispatched to the community 150 kilometres northwest of downtown Ottawa to confirm reports circulating on social media.

Sills said the tornado developed around 2:45 p.m. Sunday and carved a path of about one kilometre, with a maximum width of about 130 metres.

Sills said the team found evidence of wind speeds reaching 115 km/h, within the lowest range of the Enhanced Fujita scale, which is used to measure wind damage. The scale goes to five.

"There's only been one five in Canada and that was in Elie, Man., in 2007, and a house — an entire house — flew through the air," Sills said.

David Sills says the tornado had winds maxing out at 115 kilometres per hour. Those speeds put it as EF0, the lowest level, on the Enhanced Fujita scale used to measure wind damage. He says the tornado tracked a kilometre-long span with a width of about 130 metres.
David Sills of the Northern Tornadoes Project said Sunday's tornado carved a path one kilometre long and about 130 metres wide. (Supplied by the Northern Tornadoes Project)

Early start to tornado season

While low on the scale, storms like the one in Deep River can still cause injuries and shouldn't be taken lightly, Sills said.

Deep River Mayor Sue D'eon said municipalities like hers have been dealing with more intense weather in recent years including scorching heat, record-breaking rain and wind events like this one.

"It's becoming more challenging, I think, for municipalities to adapt," she said.

D'eon confirmed the storm caused some damage near the town's community centre and flipped a houseboat at the lakeshore. A tree also fell on a car, she said.

Sills said tornado season has started early in Canada this year, and there's likely more to come.

"But thankfully, almost all the tornadoes that have occurred, especially in urban areas, have been weak tornadoes," he said.

"We're expecting tornadoes to start ramping up certainly in July and August in Canada. That's the two peak months."