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1970: Freak tornado kills six in Sudbury

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"My house is blowing away, my house is blowing away," a hysterical female voice over the phone shouted, then the line went dead. That call to a Sudbury radio station was the first hint that a summer thundershower had turned deadly.

On Aug. 20, 1970, a 100-mile-an-hour tornado ripped through the northern Ontario mining town of Sudbury and the surrounding communities of Copper Cliff, Lively and Field without any warning.

The 10-minute windstorm resulted in the death of six people, injured 200 and caused over $17 million in damage. It was one of the worst tornados in Canadian history.
• The 1970 Sudbury twister was considered unusual because tornados generally don't occur so far north in Canada.

• According to Environment Canada, about 80 tornadoes cause a yearly average of two deaths and 20 injuries in Canada. The odds of dying from a tornado are one in 12 million.

• Dr. T. Fujita, a pioneer in tornado research, is responsible for the Fujita scale. The scale measures the intensity of tornados with F0 being the least intense and F5 being the most intense.

Also on August 20:
1987: The federal government bans smoking from public service offices, effective immediately. A ban on smoking in Crown corporations goes into effect on Jan. 1, 1989.
1998: The Supreme Court of Canada rules Quebec cannot separate unilaterally. The court also says the federal government would have to negotiate terms of Quebec independence if Quebecers vote in favour of secession.
1999: The T. Eaton Company files for bankruptcy after 130 years in the department store business. Eaton's makes the decision a week after another company's offer to buy was withdrawn. One month later, Sears Canada buys eight of Eaton's retail outlets for $50 million, but the retail revival fails in 2002.
Medium: Television
Program: CBC Television News
Broadcast Date: Aug. 20, 1970
Guest(s): Blanchard Bell, Lloyd Prowse
Reporter: Tom Leach
Duration: 3:21
Part of this clip has no audio.

Last updated: August 19, 2014

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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