Storm that lashed Laurentians likely a tornado, Environment Canada says

·2 min read

The churning storm that toppled trees and battered homes in the Laurentians was likely a tornado, a meteorologist with Environment Canada said Sunday.

The national weather agency said forceful winds lashed the area around Saint-Adolphe-d'Howard, Que., about 100 kilometres northwest of Montreal, after the storm touched down on Saturday evening.

Environment Canada meteorologist Peter Kimbell said more analysis is needed to confirm that there was a tornado, but based on the reports, he's "99 per cent" certain that's the case.

"A lot of trees snapped in half. And I've seen a house that had its roof removed," Kimbell said by phone as he drove to the site Sunday. "There's extensive damage in the area, but I don't know how much because I'm not there."

Kimbell said surveying the extent of the damage will help experts determine the strength of the storm.

Major power outages persisted in the Laurentians region Sunday, cutting off electricity for hundreds of customers, Hydro-Québec reported.

The utility tweeted that the storm caused "significant damage" to the distribution network, and power may not be fully restored for two or three days in some cases.

"The work required to restore power is complex and certain areas are difficult to access," the tweet read.

Local resident Jason Van Gaal said he never thought he'd cross paths with a tornado in his home community.

But as hail descended on his wind-strewn balcony furniture Saturday, Van Gaal said it became clear that this wasn't your average storm.

"I was super surprised," Van Gaal said in an interview. "I didn't think we got tornadoes in the area."

Van Gaal said his property wasn't hit too hard, but other residents weren't as lucky.

"One of our neighbours was working in his garage and it started shaking, he hid under his jeep and the whole garage blew away," he said.

"It's nice to see the community working together to help clear trees and (help) each other."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 24, 2022.

Adina Bresge and Virginie Ann, The Canadian Press

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