June 18 Quebec tornado outbreak largest in provincial history: Western University experts

File photo. A. Bykov/Getty Images/File

Last year’s tornado outbreak in southern Quebec was the largest ever in the province and one of the largest in Canadian history.

Wind engineering experts at Western University made the determination following an extensive ground and aerial survey.

“Many Canadians don’t realize that we can have intense tornadoes in the northern regions of the country,” said Western engineering professor and lead researcher for the Northern Tornadoes Project, Greg Kopp.

“The goal of our project is to identify as many of these as we can so that we can better define the true risk in those areas.”

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Initial data suggested four tornadoes formed on June 18 but new data out of Western shows there were nearly three times that.

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Seven new tornadoes were detected through advanced satellite imagery, raising the total in the outbreak to 11.

“Our research would indicate that there are roughly 60 tornadoes a year that hit Canada, but I suspect the actual number to be at around 200 tornadoes yearly,” Kopp said.

The project also identified two previously undetected tornadoes in northern Ontario last year on June 14 and the other July 25, both in the Dryden area.

“The outbreak in southern Quebec ranks in as number five on the largest tornado outbreak scale,” Kopp said.

“That largest outbreak took place in 2009, when southern Ontario actually had 19 total tornadoes hit on the same day, with two running through parts of Toronto.”

In addition to Kopp, the survey was also led by Joanne Kennell and Emilio Hong also with the Northern Tornadoes Project, which is a collaboration between Western University and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

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