Ontario residents clean up after storm damage

Southern Ontario residents woke up to power outages, downed trees and other damage Thursday after severe weather swept over a large swath of the province Wednesday evening, prompting tornado watches and warnings in some areas.

Environment Canada said Wednesday evening that a funnel cloud had been sighted over Nairn, about 40 kilometres northwest of London. But as of early Thursday morning, there were no confirmed tornadoes.

Environment Canada called off the last of the tornado warnings and watches shortly after midnight.

"Environment Canada is out in full force to investigate all reports today," CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe said Thursday.

Wagstaffe said there were also unconfirmed reports of tornadoes in Lucan, near London, Ont., as was well as in Burlington and over Lake Huron.

High winds and heavy rain hit many Ontario communities, and Hydro One said more than 14,000 customers were without power at one point.

Intense lightning was seen in many communities as the storms swept through the region, Wagstaffe said.

“We had this massive line of thunderstorms with very intense lightning … and that was the big story if you were along the lower Great Lakes, how intense and continuous that lightning was, about 1,000 strikes every two minutes," said Wagstaffe.

Burlington, located about 50 kilometres west of Toronto, was hit particularly hard. Many older trees in the Roseland area were toppled by heavy winds. At one address on Princess Boulevard, a massive tree came down on a pickup truck.

A woman told CBC News she was having a dinner party when she heard a "thud" and came outside to discover the tree had crushed the cab of her cousin's truck.

The storm also prompted some amusing messages on Twitter.

“The CN Tower is taking one for the team, thanks buddy for being tall and pointy and whatnot," read one Twitter message Wagstaffe received.

In Toronto, the storm forced the Canadian National Exhibition to shut down early.

At around 9 p.m., midway rides stopped running and the gates were closed. It usually stays open until 11 p.m.

Olga Vilkova was at the CNE and told CBC News the shutdown occurred before the rain even started.

“Oh, everybody was running around the Ex. Everybody was just closing up..."

Toronto FC’s soccer game against Dallas was also cancelled after the first half of play because of the storm. They will play the second half of the game on Thursday night at BMO Field.

There were also reports of storm-related delays at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, though staff said they were getting back on track early Thursday.

Environment Canada also issued a rainfall warning and severe thunderstorm warning for parts of northern Ontario.

The severe weather comes after Goderich, Ont., on the shore of Lake Huron, was hit by an F3 tornado Sunday that left one man dead and caused extensive damage.

The threat for storms began in areas near Lake Huron in the late afternoon and then moved eastward through the Toronto-Hamilton-Niagara area and into the upper Ottawa Valley.

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