Strong summer storm packs rare punch — Tornado strikes Ashburn

Posted Aug 15, 2016 by Nathan Salant
Teams from Environment Canada began cleaning up debris Saturday after powerful summer storms toppled trees and damaged homes south of Toronto, even spawning a small tornado.
FORECAST: The Canadian Meteorological Center in Dorval  Quebec  is shown.
FORECAST: The Canadian Meteorological Center in Dorval, Quebec, is shown.
RedAndr/Wikimedia Commons
Government meteorologists confirmed Saturday afternoon that a tornado struck the southeast shore of Lake Simcoe from Sunset Beach to Port Bolster, but said a powerful storm cell that battered south Oshawa was a 'downburst,' not a tornado.
The tornado was ranked EF-1 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, with estimated winds of 150 to 175 km/h.
"It was downright tropical yesterday," Environment Canada severe meteorologist Arnold Ashton told CBC News on Sunday.
"It was the most significant storm of the summer," he said, according to the CBC.
Ashton said federal teams would be out Sunday inspecting damage on Sunset Beach on the southeast shore of Lake Simcoe, east of Barrie; in Ashburn, north of Whitby; and in Wellesley, west of Waterloo; to determine the severity of the storm in each place.
The severe storms came after days of intense heat and humidity, dumping heavy rain and spawning severe wind gusts that damaged homes, trees and vehicles, the CBC said.
Reports of crop and tree damage came in from Ashburn at about 2 p.m. and a large tent with as many as three people inside was blown over in Wellesley at around 6 p.m., Ashton said.
Several people suffered minor injuries, he said.
But damage to homes, vehicles and trees in south Oshawa was likely caused by a downburst, not a tornado, officials said.
Environment Canada dispatched a damage survey team to Oshawa on Saturday after residents contacted the agency, the CBC said.
"We had one of our top guys go out last night to inspect while there was still light outside," Ashton said.
"it was an isolated area, about two, three streets of damage," he said.
Ashton said Environment Canada determined there were two bursts of wind but without what he called a "tornadic" signature, the CBC said.
"It has a certain look," Ashton said.
Environment Canada estimated that winds in south Oshawa reached as high as 120 kilometers per hour.
Further analysis will be completed in the next few days, Ashton said.
Environment Canada also reported damage in Brampton around 1 p.m., and that heavy rains fell in Goderich, Ottawa, Mount Forest, Bancroft, Uxbridge and Egbert, the CBC said.