Tornadoes touch down in LaSalle, Ont. and Windsor
'It was insane, I've never seen anything like it.'
Tornadoes touched down in two southern Ontario communities Wednesday evening, Environment Canada reports.
The national weather service said eyewitnesses saw a tornado in LaSalle, Ont., shortly after 7 p.m. A second touched down in nearby Windsor shortly afterwards.
A team of severe weather experts from Environment Canada investigated both sites Thursday.
Kevin Ross of LaSalle stood calmly on his deck and filmed the very few seconds it took for what appears to be a funnel cloud to form over Windsor. The funnel eventually touches ground.
Ross was in his basement when the first tornado touched down in his own neighbourhood moments before.
"We didn't stand a chance," said Crystal Belanger, standing across the street from her home in LaSalle. "It was like a freight train. You tried to close the garage door, get the door closed — there were trees in there.
"We're all trying to figure out what we're going to do. We've got to wait, the fire department's here. But in the meantime, what are we supposed to to?" she said after the storm passed through. "It was the most frightful moment of my life, truly."
Emergency crews fanned throughout Essex County in the storm's aftermath, responding to reports of toppled trees and other damage to property. There were homes without power in Windsor-Essex, but few serious injuries were reported.
The tornado in LaSalle came inland off the Detroit River and lasted only minutes. It tore through Islandview Marina first, before doing damage in a nearby subdivision.
The one-minute video below shows some of the monstrous trees the storm toppled and boats it damaged and overturned.
The city opened up its emergency operations centre in the wake of the storm. Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said there were three people taken to hospital as a result of injuries sustained during the storm in Windsor.
About 15 homes in Windsor were too badly damaged for residents to re-enter, Dilkens said.
"It was insane, I've never seen anything like it," Tom Greer told CBC News. "It was a real dark cloud. It rained for a while. I thought to myself: 'That's not a thunderstorm, that's a tornado.'"
Greer described the dark, black cloud moving through a neighbourhood about one kilometre from his house. Tree branches, cardboard and other debris were thrown around with the cloud, he said.
"I've never seen tree branches [move] like that before. You could tell it was very strong," he said.
Twitter user Mark Robinson posted photos of the storm's aftermath.
Environment Canada ended the tornado warning around 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Sgt. Anna Gillis with Windsor police says there were emergency crews at E.C. Row Expressway in Windsor, where there was extensive damage to nearby power lines.
Several businesses and manufacturing facilities at the Greenwood Centre industrial park sustained serious damage.
Power is shut off at the industrial park and many businesses are closed and without power.