3 tornadoes hit Quebec on Sunday, Environment Canada confirms

The tornadoes carved paths several kilometres long in the Lac St-Jean and the Mont-Laurier regions, as well as the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve between Quebec City and the Saguenay.

Cyclones carved kilometres-long paths near Lac St-Jean and Mont-Laurier

The tornado that hit the Saguenay region Sunday on Lac Kénogami travelled as fast 180 kilometres an hour and hit a class 2 on the Fujita scale, according to Environment Canada meteorologist Marie-Ève Giguère. (Peter Rodgers/Facebook)

Three tornadoes touched down in Quebec last weekend — all in one day.

Environment Canada confirmed in a statement that "at least three tornadoes and a microburst affected the province" Sunday.

"It's quite unusual," meteorologist Marie-Ève Giguère told CBC News Wednesday.

"On average in Quebec, we confirm about six tornadoes every summer, so three on the same day is definitely a rare occurrence."

The tornadoes carved paths several kilometres long in the Lac St-Jean and the Mont-Laurier regions, as well as the Laurentides Wildlife Reserve between Quebec City and the Saguenay.

Two of the tornadoes – the ones in Lac St-Jean and near Mont-Laurier – hit Class 2 on the Fujita scale, meaning their winds reached 180 kilometres per hour.

Their paths reached almost five kilometres and the one in the wildlife reserve was seen crossing the highway, Giguère said.

"We had reports of downed trees, uprooted trees, a lot of houses damaged, roofs torn off, even two houses completely destroyed," she said.

A residence in Hébertville, Que., was destroyed by what Environment Canada has determined to be one of three tornadoes to have hit the province Sunday. (Radio-Canada)

The combination of heat, humidity and strong winds Sunday made up "all the ingredients for a tornado," she said.

To establish that the extreme winds were tornadoes, the weather agency reviewed damage on homes and trees to determine its speed and where it touched down.

Photos and videos submitted to the agency and on social media by witnesses helped determine what happened, she added.

"A tornado is a violently rotating column of air and it has to touch the ground and have a cloud above, and we have all of that on video," the meteorologist said.