Drone footage shows devastation of Ottawa-area tornadoes

The storm may be over, but the Ottawa-Gatineau region has a long way to go in its recovery from the two tornadoes that struck on Friday.

Drone footage shared by Ottawa’s hydro utility on Monday, Sept. 24, showed the damage to one neighbourhood caught in the path of an EF-2 tornado.

The footage shows trees in the Arlington Woods community snapped in half and uprooted by extreme wind, large holes in roofs and debris scattered about the ground.

According to Bruce Conrad, the utility’s president CEO, the area hasn’t seen damage like this in 20 years.

“The grid has not seen damage this extensive since the 1998 Ice Storm,” he said. “And the devastation felt in some areas is shocking.”

As of Tuesday morning, Hydro Ottawa reported 837 customers were still without power.

Officials said Arlington Woods was the area hit hardest by the tornadoes, although a more powerful EF-3 twister tore through the rural community of Dunrobin and part of Gatineau, Que.

On Tuesday morning, the City of Ottawa made an appeal on Twitter for volunteers to help with the cleanup efforts, with more than 60 homes and 1,686 units in 210 buildings estimated to have been severely damaged in Dunrobin, Arlington Heights and Gatineau, along with a transformer station.

Despite the tough work ahead, there was cause for optimism Tuesday, with Hydro One, Hydro Ottawa and Hydro Quebec having restored power to most of the roughly 400,000 customers in and around Ottawa-Gatineau who lost it in the storm.

“Our first responders, city services, and volunteers continue to work effectively,” Ottawa mayor Jim Watson said in a statement. “And we thank them for these ongoing efforts.”