Last Wednesday’s violent storm had some residents of Norfolk County racing for the basement.
Around sunset, a cold front collided with the hot, humid air that had settled over southern Ontario on June 9 and 10. Violent gusts of wind ushered in the storm, bringing with them ominous dark cloud formations reaching for ground level.
“I was out watering plants, and the storm came so fast,” Summer Street of Angling Road north of Waterford said last Thursday.
“Then this tree just went over – boom. I ran the kids in the house and then ran and put the horses in the barn. I know some neighbours who went to their basements. It was crazy. It happened so fast.”
Reports suggest the area of Norfolk between Thompson Road in Waterford and Boston was especially hard hit. Limbs, leaves and downed trees in the aftermath suggest an extreme wind event passed through the area.
A crew from Timberjack Tree Service of Simcoe was at the Street farm Thursday cleaning up the tree that had fallen in the backyard.
“I heard that a tornado may have touched down near Ingersoll,” Timberjack owner Dave Braun said at the scene.
“I know Waterford got hit worse than Simcoe. We’re getting a lot of calls – split trees, limbs hanging over houses, that sort of thing.”
Norfolk public works confirmed that the storm caused significant damage in parts of Ward 7.
“Over the course of the storm there were eight road-side trees that came down in that area and many smaller branches as well,” roads manager Shawn Vanacker said in an email.
“Two trees were tangled in hydro lines, which required assistance from Hydro One. Staff were able to clear downed trees quickly so there were no road closures to speak of. Roads staff will be several days cleaning up the tree debris from this storm.”
Norfolk OPP and county firefighters were busy Wednesday night patrolling area roads. They cleared limbs where they could and flagged other areas where trees and limbs were too big to move. A video on social media shows a police officer flagging a downed tree with a road flare.
In a video on social media, Const. Ed Sanchuk, spokesperson for the Norfolk OPP, warned motorists they had a good chance of running into a downed tree or a big branch if they didn’t slow down. In the immediate aftermath, Sanchuk said staying home for the night was a good idea.
“I’m not going to lie to you,” Sanchuk said. “It’s a mess. Norfolk County got hit pretty good along with Elgin, Oxford and surrounding area.”
Tornadoes touched down in Belmont and Glencoe near London. Investigators were in the communities Thursday to assess the damage.