An EF-2 tornado touched down briefly on a farm southwest of the village of Hawkesville, Ont., on Friday night, destroying two sheds and tossing around some equipment, Environment Canada has confirmed.
No one was injured when the tornado tracked on the ground for a few hundred metres, according to Rob Kuhn, severe weather meteorologist for Environment Canada who is based in Toronto. Hawksville is northwest of the cities of Kitchener and Waterloo.
The tornado hit the farm as a severe storm blew through much of southwestern Ontario Friday night, causing damage to crops and buildings.
Kuhn said the twister blew through the farm at about 7:30 p.m. with wind speeds estimated to be about 180 kilometres per hour. It brought rain and intense lightning to the area.
“There has been some significant damage to a couple of well-built sheds and some heavy farm equipment was tossed,” Kuhn said. “There were also some swirls in the crops, all suggesting tornado damage. The village itself was not affected.”
He said the tornado was on the ground for less than five minutes. Most of the damage was to the farm and occurred mostly where it touched down initially. No livestock was injured, he said. Some hydro poles snapped in two and some trees were damaged.
It is not known how many, if any, people were on the farm at the time.
Environment Canada sent a representative to the area to assess the damage and that person determined on Saturday that it was a tornado.
Kuhn said Environment Canada had issued a tornado warning for the area at 7:33 p.m. on Friday. About 40 minutes earlier, it had issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the area that included a statement that said such storms “can and do” produce tornadoes.
“Already, there was a heads-up that these storms could produce a tornado and there had been a severe thunderstorm watch out for most of the afternoon,” he said.
Environment Canada also received reports of flooding in the streets of Waterloo.
Kuhn said he saw the storm himself on his way home from Florida.
The national agency had warned that lightning and winds up to 90 km/h were possible in the storm as it crossed through the area, threatening Wellington County and Waterloo Region.
Weather radar plotted the severe storm as it tracked a route between the communities of Elmira and St. Jacobs.
Saturday morning, debris and damage were evident in the area.
Kuhn said there was an EF-0 tornado near Leamington, Ont., with maximum wind speeds of 130 kilometres per hour, at about 5:40 p.m. It damaged solar panels and a greenhouse. No one was injured.
Drone pictures from last evenings tornado near Hawksville! pic.twitter.com/O0w4vAtwzT
— Nate Leis (@nate_leis) August 12, 2017