Gerald Cheng

Environment Canada confirms local tornado activity



By Ron Giofu


It took until the weekend, but Environment Canada has now acknowledged that Amherstburg had tornado activity.

Meteorologist Gerald Cheng noted the brick welcome sign was destroyed near the north entrance to the town and that, as of last Friday morning, there were two machine sheds damaged in town as well as a garage as a result of the Sept. 25 storm. A tornado warning was issued and Cheng didn’t have a confirmed report as of Friday, but Environment Canada reported on the weekend that one confirmed tornado and one “probable” tornado came through Amherstburg.

“We issued the tornado warning based on radar,” he said.

Cheng pointed out there were three confirmed tornadoes in the United States and that track did move into Canada.

Environment Canada confirmed over the weekend that “a probable tornado affected the Amherstburg area. Damage consisted of a brick welcome sign being blown over as well as large tree branches down. This is consistent with EF-0 damage. In this case there was no evidence of a long and narrow path of damage which is typical of tornadoes. However, the area affected was in line with the damage path of a tornado that occurred earlier in Michigan. As a result, this is a probable tornado.”

Duncan Fregoe stands near what is left of his pump house and barn at his Texas Road property.

A confirmed tornado affected the McGregor area, Environment Canada added.

“Damage here consisted of a garage that was pushed over, roof damage and large trees down. This damage is indicative of an EF-1 tornado with maximum winds of approximately 150 km/h. The damage path had a length of roughly 2 km and width of 50 m,” Environment Canada reported.

Another EF-1 tornado reportedly hit the Staples area as well.

People are encouraged to e-mail photos of storm damage to or put them on Twitter with the hashtag #OnStorm so that Environment Canada may view them as part of the investigation.

Amherstburg saw an estimated 40mm of rain during the Sept. 25 storm, Cheng added.

Duncan Fregoe’s mangled greenhouse is seen in the foreground while his collapsed garage is in the background.

“We had higher rainfall amounts to the north,” he said, noting there was 60mm of rain that hit LaSalle and parts of Windsor saw 80mm of rain come down.

Chatham-Kent also was hit by the storm, with heavy rain and winds being reported there. While there have been reports of 70 km/hr winds there, wind speeds in Amherstburg are still being investigated. He noted that 70 km/hr winds would not be enough to topple a sign like the brick welcome sign.

One resident who suffered damage was Duncan Fregoe. Fregoe lives in the 6600 block of Texas Road and while his house was fine after the storm, other buildings on his property were not. A large wooden garage collapsed with a pump house, greenhouse and barn also destroyed.

Fregoe recalled watching television shortly after 9 p.m. While it originally looked like the storm was going to go to the north, he soon heard another report and got up to close windows. He heard a noise and noticed his barbecue had been pulled away from his home and that tree branches were down.

“The wind just picked up for a few seconds,” he stated.

The brick welcome sign was also destroyed during the Sept. 25 storm that hit Amherstburg.

Once the storm died down, Fregoe went outside to survey the damage. He said he saw branches down and when he went around his house, he saw the other buildings had suffered severe damage.

Fregoe added that a light post was also damaged at a neighbouring property.

Estimating that his family had been at that home for about 40 years, Fregoe said they have had high winds in the past but nothing like the Sept. 25 storm.

“The house is pretty good. No problems there,” said Fregoe. “Just my backyard.”