Thunderstorm leaves 70,000 without power in Ontario, leads to at least one death

TORONTO — A severe thunderstorm with high winds has caused power outages in Southern Ontario and resulted in at least one death. Peel Regional Police say a woman in Brampton, Ont.

TORONTO — A severe thunderstorm with high winds has caused power outages in Southern Ontario and resulted in at least one death.

Peel Regional Police say a woman in Brampton, Ont. died after a large tree hit her while she was walking during the fast-moving storm.

Meanwhile, Hydro One says more than 70,000 customers from Sarnia, Ont. east past Toronto are without power after the storm toppled trees and power lines.

The storm was violent enough for Environment Canada to send out an intrusive emergency warning to television and radio stations and cell phones.

Environment Canada meteorologist Daniel Liota says winds of 80 miles per hour measured at the Kitchener, Ont. airport were enough of a risk to property and life to trigger the alert.

Liota says that while gusts of such speeds aren’t that rare in isolated microbursts, the storm was unusual because it covered such a large geographic area.

‘It was a big problem. It’s your highest echelon of thunderstorms.’

He says severe thunderstorms were only recently added to the warning system.

According to Alert Ready, which manages the warning system for Canadian governments, no severe thunderstorm warning has appeared on the system in the four years in which the data is listed.

To trigger a broadcast-intrusive thunderstorm warning, winds of at least 80 miles per hour must be measured, or hail at least seven inches in diameter, which is about the size of a tennis ball, Liota said.

The Environment Canada weather station at Toronto Pearson International Airport measured wind gusts of 75 miles per hour as the storm swept through the city in the afternoon.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on May 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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