As It Happens

'I was so scared': Lachute, Que., woman describes tornado ripping through her backyard

Lorraine Girard was home with her two young grandchildren when a tornado tore through her backyard, leaving it in shambles.
Lorraine Girard was busy taking care of her grandkids on Tuesday afternoon when a tornado ripped through her Lachute, Que., neighbourhood. (CBC)

Story transcript

Lorraine Girard didn't need a meteorologist to tell her a tornado ripped through her neighbourhood on Tuesday night.

She and her husband were in their Lachute, Que., home with their three-year-old grandson and five-month-old granddaughter when the windows started rattling and huge pieces of wood from the neighbour's house started flying through their yard.

"I was yelling because I was so scared," Girard told As It Happens guest host Jim Brown.  "I was just protecting the little baby and the other one ... and he was crying because he saw me cry, and I was crazy, you know? I was sure we were ... going to die."

Environment Canada has confirmed the town northwest of Montreal was hit by a tornado on Tuesday, causing severe damage to more than a dozen homes. 

René Héroux, a meteorologist with the weather agency, said it was a category F1 tornado, with winds up to 180 kilometres per hour, that touched down around 6:10 p.m.

Girard's neighbour's roof ended up in her backyard pool. (CBC)

Girard's home is largely unscathed and her family are unharmed. But her grandson, she said, was inconsolable all night. 

"He was crying and he was yelling and he didn't sleep last night," she said.

The tornado ripped through in a flash, she said. 

"About 30 seconds and it was all finished," she said. "But my yard is finished too."

Lorraine Girard's backyard contains the remnants of her destroyed gazebo and pieces of her neighbour's roof. (CBC)

Her neighbour's roof ended up in pieces in her backyard pool, and her gazebo was ripped from its foundations and thrown some 30 metres away, she said.

The transformers in her neighbourhood were destroyed, and she's been left without power for the time being.

"I was sure that my house was going to go in the wind too," she said. "I'm in shock today. ... I'm just looking outside and I cannot believe that's happened here."

Lorraine Girard says she's still in shock when she looks out her window at her tornado-ravaged backyard. (CBC)

With files from CBC Montreal 

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