Watch the video above: Environment Canada’s David Phillips who discusses how the Angus tornado formed and why the southern part of Ontario is a hotbed of tornado activity.
TORONTO – Tuesday’s tornado that tore through Angus, tearing the roofs off homes and tossing cars and trucks, is a stark reminder that Ontario has its own tornado alley.
What makes Ontario so tornado-prone?
READ MORE: A look at tornadoes in Canada
“We’re closer to big tornado alley,” David Phillips, Environment Canada‘s senior climatologist told Global News, referring to the tornado alley in the southern United States.
Our heat and humidity – which often comes from the Gulf of Mexico – coupled with the cooler Great Lakes, can create the unstable conditions necessary to cause severe storms. The cooler, dry air, often in the form of lake breezes, help get that moist air higher up into the atmosphere, eventually leading to that instability.
Peter Kimbell, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, told Global News, “The threat is, statistically, not nearly as significant as it is in the States for tornadoes. But it’s there.”
Here’s a look at some of the deadliest tornadoes in Ontario. Fujita Scale ratings are from F0 (weakest) to F5 (strongest). There has never been an F5 tornado in Ontario.
June 17, 1946, F4
May 31, 1985, F4
(Also of note: Tornado struck close to Grand Valley, Orangeville and Tottenham that day, 4 other people killed)
April 3, 1974, F3
May 21, 1953, F4
August 20, 1970, F3
August 7, 1979, F4
August 20, 2009, F2
August 21, 2011, F3
(Source: Environment Canada and Ontario Tornado Watch)
Note: An earlier version of the story incorrectly stated that the Windsor 1974 tornado occurred on August 7.
© Shaw Media, 2014