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Possible tornado touches down in Leamington


June 7, 2010
By The Canadian Press CHYR

June 6, 2010, Leamington, Ont. – A
terrifying storm, likely a tornado, descended on this southwestern
Ontario
community so quickly early Sunday that some residents barely had time to
get
out of bed before it left a path of destruction.

June 6, 2010, Leamington, Ont. – A
terrifying storm, likely a tornado, descended on this southwestern Ontario
community so quickly early Sunday that some residents barely had time to get
out of bed before it left a path of destruction.

(The Windsor Star has posted photos of some of the damaged properties at: http://www.windsorstar.com/news/Gallery+Leamington+storm+damage/3119392/story.html.)

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“We heard some noise we were going
to get out of our bedroom upstairs and run down stairs. You’re supposed to go
to the basement and try and be safe, but we didn’t make it out of our
bedroom,’’ said Phil Ingratta. “It was quick, probably a couple of minutes not
even that. It was just unbelievable,’’ Ingratta told Leamington radio station
CHYR of the storm.

The full force of the storm hit the
community around 3 a.m. Ingratta’s barn was destroyed. His car was squashed.
His fence flew across the street.

It was much the same story in other
parts of the municipality. Trees crashed through roofs, hydro lines were split
in two and fences ripped apart.

Leamington’s deputy mayor Rob
Schmidt issued a state of emergency about three hours after the storm.

While officials said there are no
injuries, the damage is extensive. “Trees are everywhere, all over the place.
It’s like a bomb hit it,’’ said Anne Miskovsky, the emergency communications
officer.

Power outages are widespread and
crews are working feverishly to restore electricity. Police are controlling the
storm-damaged area, erecting barricades to keep people away. The building
department is also scouring the area, moving from house to house to make sure
no one is in an unsafe situation, said Miskovsky.

The storm started building late
Saturday night as Environment Canada issued several tornado warnings for the
area throughout the night and into the early morning hours of Sunday. The
largest stretch of damage ran for three kilometres along Fraser Road and Bevel
Line.

Miskovsky described the damage as
“mind boggling.’’

She Said “huge trees are severed
down the middle and are laying on top of the roads or houses. Hydro poles have
been sheared in half and are just lying here,’’ she said, as she tried to paint
a picture of the wreckage.

Picnic tables float in Lake Erie
outside the badly damaged marina, said Miskovsky. The patio is slanted, leaning
towards the left. “It looks like someone drove into the bottom of it,’’ said
Miskovsky.

She said large trees – planted more
than 25 year ago and had just recently matured enough to provide shade to the
area – have been sliced in half. Miskovsky said the municipal park, which
recently received infrastructure money that helped pave roads and provide
lights to the park, has also been hit hard.

But despite the destruction, some
people expressed relief, because no one was injured. “We’re truly blessed
because that tree is laying in our son’s bed right now,’’ said Leamington
resident Paul Verheyen. A tree crashed through the roof of his cottage Saturday
night, but his family left before the storm struck. “We weren’t here,’’ said
Verheyen, “My wife talked me into leaving. I wanted to stay,’’ he told CHYR.

The Red Cross has opened up a
shelter for people in a nearby recreation complex. Environment Canada is also
sending a team to the area to determine if a tornado did in fact touch down.

“It seems likely there was a
tornado, but we cannot confirm that at this time,’’ said Peter Kimbell, a
warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada.

Kimbell said it’s unclear about how
severe the storm was, but about 52 millimetres of rain fell in the nearby
Windsor area, and 44 millimetres of rain fell in Harrow.

A significant low-pressure systems
was tracking across the area, said Kimbell, as he tried to explain what may
have caused the burst of blustery weather. He also said the southwestern part
of the province was under a threat of significant weather, due to the amount of
moisture in the atmosphere.


(The Canadian Press, CHYR)


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