By Sue Tiffin
** Please note later on Aug. 4 after this story went to print Environment Canada upgraded the tornado that touched down in Kinmount to an EF2 rating based on max winds reaching up to 180 km/hour and garages being swept away.
Peter Kimbell meterologist with Environment Canada confirmed a tornado had caused the damage in Kinmount on Aug. 2.
“We have a close collaboration with Western University a specific groupcalled the Northern Tornadoes Project they actually do research ontornadoes across the country” he told the Times on Aug.4. “They wereable to confirm three tornadoes on Sunday – one in Camden East one inOxford Mills one in Kinmount.”
A tornado was confirmed in Perth County near Stratford the following day.
Kinmount’s tornado was rated an EF (Enhanced Fujita Scale) 1 with maximum wind speeds of 150 kilometres an hour.
“The EF0 goes from 90 to 130 km/hour the EF1 goes from 130 to 175 km/hourand then it goes up from there” said Kimbell. “So we know we can havean EF5 up to 300-and-so kilometres an hour. Those are extremely rare and only one recorded in Canada but it’s possible.”
Of the three tornadoes reported on Aug. 2 Kinmount was the only one to be rated EF1.
“For context Gatineau and Dunrobin in Ottawa two years ago there were two tornadoes – that was an EF3 the one in Nepean was an EF2 and it caused a lot of damage” said Kimbell. “So this was smaller but the other two tornadoes on Sunday were EF0s so this one’s the strongest of thethree.”
How can a tornado be confirmed after the fact? The EF scale looks at estimated wind speeds and related damage.
“It’s a bit of guess work” said Kimbell. “So if a tornado does go over afarmer’s field and causes no damage we don’t really know. But webasically look at the damage that was caused and we have ratings basedon that. And then also it depends on the kind of damage – was it a longand narrow swath or was it very wide was there damage lying inmultiple directions that kind of thing.”
Residents in Kinmount saidthe tornado on Sunday happened 14 years to the day of the last one.Kimbell said “there were quite a few tornadoes on that day” in 2006with one in Combermere being the largest.
“They don’t happen veryoften no so these events are relatively uncommon in Eastern Ontario”he said. “Have they happened before absolutely. And will they happenagain of course. But they don’t happen every day and when they dohappen they are usually pretty isolated.”
Environment Canada tries to give warning providing people with ample time to take shelter andthough Kimbell said “we have ever-increasing skill at recognizing whenthese kinds of events are going to happen” the warning system iscontinuing to improve.
“It’s still a science that it’s in its infancy we’re still learning a lot.”
According to a summary from the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre of EnvironmentCanada the tornado in Camden East had winds up to 130 kilometres anhour and is rated a high-end EF0. It struck at approximately 2:35 p.m.The tornado near Oxford Mills at around 4:25 p.m. had estimated maximumwinds around 90 kilometres an hour and was rated a low-end EF0 causinglight damage. On Monday a weak tornado north of Mitchell was reportedat approximately 12:40 p.m. causing tree damage. The events are stillunder investigation in collaboration with the Northern TornadoesProject. Anyone with further information regarding possible tornadoesstorm damage or anything weather related can contact ONstorm@canada.ca .