Thousands without power after small tornado pounds Drummondville
Published Sunday, September 9, 2012 6:22PM EDT
DRUMMONDVILLE, Que.--Trees were uprooted and buildings damaged on Saturday night as a F0 tornado touched down in Drummondville, a town 100-kilometres east of Montreal.
Ten people were working on the first floor of the community centre on Brock St. when the roof was ripped off by howling winds of up to 120-kilometres-per-hour.
“"The winds were much stronger four stories high at roof level than they were on the ground. There’s a lot of suction to really lift up that roof,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Rene Heroux as he surveyed the damage.
With winds of up to 137-kilometres-per-hour, F0 tornados are defined as the weakest funnels possible. Despite that, neighbours who saw the tornado were left shaken
“I saw the cone form and I rushed inside, that’s when I heard a big boom,” said one neighbour.
Flying debris from the roof of the community centre rained down across the street and damaged a restaurant as well as a parking lot full of vehicles.
“I really panicked and I was in such a state of shocks that it took me awhile to react to a customer’s questions,” said an employee of the restaurant.
Another employee of the restaurant was able to laugh about it on Sunday, because everyone escaped unscathed.
“When the wind came I looked and I braced myself, and then I jumped like a kangaroo,” said the man.
According to Environment Canada, a cold front could have caused the storms and violent winds.
“I’d say in Quebec, on average each summer, we have six tornados, most of them are from F0 to F1,” said Heroux.
Damage to the city was relatively minor. Lights at a municipal baseball diamond will need to be replaced, and two homes on Bruno St. were hit by uprooted trees.
At the peak of the storm, 90,000 homes and businesses throughout Quebec were in the dark. Most of the power was restored by Sunday morning, although regions in the Monteregie and Saguenay were told by Hydro-Quebec that electricity would only be restored by Sunday night.
While little damage was recorded from the heavy gusts that hit Montreal, a lane of the eastbound Ville-Marie highway was closed at the St-Laurent Blvd. exit on Saturday night. A window-washing platform at the nearby French superhospital was torn from its moorings and landed on the highway’s signage.
--with files from The Canadian Press.