Severe thunderstorms, possible tornadoes, roll through Ontario, Quebec

The hot and sticky weather from the past two days has come to an end now, but in its wake, thunderstorms have been tracking across the southern half of the province since this afternoon, spawning some severe weather and possibly even a few funnel clouds and tornadoes.

The stormy weather started at around 4 p.m., as an approaching cold front stirred up the hot, humid air into a line of powerful storms that stretched from the shores of Lake Huron all the way to southwestern Quebec. This line of storms brought torrential rainfall, frequent lightning and thunder, strong winds and dime to quarter-sized hail to many regions, and some areas apparently even experienced funnel clouds and possible tornado touchdowns.

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Some of the the strongest storms were seen in southwestern Ontario. One storm cell in particular spawned tornado warnings from Strathroy, though London and continuing on through Ingersoll, Tillsonburg, Woodstock and east towards Brantford. Forecasters had noted rotation on radar images of the cell, and there were some reports of tornado touchdowns, with one possibly at the junction of Highway 401 and Highbury Ave in London, and according to one rather shaken caller, another in Ingersoll to the east.

Numerous reports and pictures showed up on Twitter of hail stones, down trees and branches, and storm damage to vehicles and property.

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Reports also came in from eastern Ontario this afternoon of funnel clouds near Havelock and Cornwall. There were no reports of tornado touchdowns or any damages.

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The storms continued into the evening, with more heavy rain, dime-sized hail, and intense lightning. Ontario Hydro is reporting blackouts near Windsor, Strathroy, London and Hamilton, and according to Toronto Hydro, customers in Rexdale, York, North York, downtown Toronto, and several parts of Scarborough are also without power. Apparently the lightning even set fire to one home on Agricola Road in Brampton.

This intense weather is expected to persist throughout the day on Thursday, with showers in the morning and more thunderstorms expected in the afternoon. Temperatures will be significantly cooler, though, with afternoon highs reaching into the low 20s across the province.

(Photo courtesy: Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press)

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