Ont. tornado 'a tragedy': Goodyear

Federal Minister of State Gary Goodyear, who visited the tornado-torn town of Leamington, Ont., Wednesday morning, has called the damage "a tragedy" but offered no emergency funding to help clean up.

Environment Canada upgrades tornado's strength

Environment Canada says a two-storey brick house in Harrow, Ont., shifted on its foundation after being struck Sunday by what has now been classified as an F2 tornado. ((CBC))

Federal Minister of State Gary Goodyear visited the tornado-torn town of Leamington, Ont., Wednesday morning but offered no emergency funding to help clean up.

Goodyear toured a damaged greenhouse, subdivision, community park and municipal marina.

 Canada's deadliest tornadoes 
 Regina, Sask.June 30, 191228 dead, hundreds injured
 Edmonton, Alta.July 31, 198727 dead, hundreds injured
 Windsor, Ont.June 17, 194617 dead, hundreds injured
 Pine Lake, Alta.July 14, 200012 dead, 140 injured 
 Windsor, Ont.April 3, 19749 dead, 30 injured 
 Valleyfield, Que.Aug. 16, 18889 dead, 14, injured 
 Barrie, Ont.May 31, 19858 dead, 155 injured
 Sudbury, Ont.Aug. 20, 19706 dead, 200 injured 
 St-Rose, Que.June 14, 18926 dead, 6 injured
 Buctouche, N.B.Aug. 6, 18795 dead, 10 injured
 Source: Environment Canada

"It's very distressing," Goodyear said. "Some of these things won't be replaced easily and that's a tragedy.

"The good news is most of what's occurred here can be replaced."

Town officials were working on an estimate of damage, to be used to apply for emergency funding from the federal and provincial governments.

Goodyear said it would be up to the provincial government to apply to the federal government for emergency funding.

"These issues are a provincial lead," he said.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is scheduled to visit the area Wednesday evening.

Many of those living in the tornado zone told CBC News they are frustrated with curious onlookers who have been treating their properties like a tourist attraction.

Tornado upgraded

Experts now believe the tornado, which ripped right across Essex County in southwestern Ontario, was stronger than originally thought.

Environment Canada has upgraded the twister from an F1 to an F2, meaning it generated winds between 180 and 220 km/h.

Tornadoes are measured on a scale from mild (F0) to severe (F5).

After analyzing damage, Environment Canada says the tornado hit Leamington hard, but first touched down southeast of Harrow, Ont.

Investigators found a two-storey brick house there that had shifted on its foundation, a destroyed barn and large pieces of debris that had been tossed several hundred metres.

From Harrow, the twister likely travelled over Lake Erie, before coming on shore and hitting the south side of Leamington.

By the time it arrived there, it had weakened to an F1.

The swath of destruction stretched for 40 kilometres and was up to 250 metres wide.

IntensityWind speed Type of damage
F064-116 km/h Damage to trees, shingles, antennas and windows.
F1117-180 km/hTrees uprooted, cars overturned.
F2181-252 km/hRoofs blown off homes, sheds destroyed, mobile homes flipped.
F3253-330 km/hWalls, roofs destroyed, metal buildings collapsed, forests destroyed.
F4331-417 km/hWell-built homes mostly destroyed, heavy objects thrown long distances.
F5418-508 km/hHomes destroyed and/or blown great distances, roofs blown off larger structures, which are otherwise heavily damaged.

With files from The Canadian Press