Lightning strikes couple, tornado touches down in St. Lazare
Published Saturday, July 17, 2010 11:10PM EDT
A couple in their 40s is recovering in hospital after it was struck by lightning Saturday evening in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.
The 46-year-old man is in critical condition in the intensive care unit, while the 49-year-old suffered minor burns.
The couple was struck as they were preparing to watch Saturday evening's fireworks display at La Ronde, while sitting under a tree at Notre-Dame and Frontenac Sts.
Lightning hit the tree, then travelled along an umbrella the man was holding.
Several people nearby provided assistance to the couple until an ambulance arrived.
"When paramedics arrived on the scene, the man was in cardiac arrest, so they did CPR on the victim. The woman was still conscious, but really shocked," said Benoit Garneau, Urgences Sante spokesperson.
Garneau warned that the incident served as a reminder not to take cover in dangerous spots during an electrical storm.
"Don't place yourself in danger. If you go under a tree, you will be in danger," said Garneau.
Tornado touches down in St. Lazare
Meantime, severe thunderstorms spawned a tornado Saturday night in the Monteregie town of St. Lazare, confirmed Rene Heroux from Environment Canada.
"There's a scale for tornados that goes from F0 to F5. Here in St. Lazare, from our investigation, it turns out it's an F0, so winds of around 120 kilometres per hour," he said.
Though considered a small tornado, it was enough to cause dramatic damage, explained St. Lazare resident Robert Toonen.
"We saw the trees all just lying down, just tumbled over, and the wind carried away my neighbour's trampoline. It went about 15 feet up in the air and ended up in a tree," he said.
Resident De Santis Alfredo was on a trip to Toronto when Surete du Quebec called him to tell him to return home, because the aluminum siding was ripped off the back of his home, his patio furniture had been lifted off the ground and his roof and deck were damaged.
"Of course, you see these things on TV, but you never expect that to happen in your own home, you know?" he said.
Heroux said Alfredo is lucky he wasn't in the back yard at the time of the storm.
"It could be really dangerous to receive a patio chair at 120 kilomtres per hour," he said. "Those become flying debris."