Here’s what we know about possible cost of the Ottawa-Gatineau tornado
No fatalities have been reported, though several dozen people remain in hospital with injuries.
It will be several more days before service is restored to more than 100,000 people currently left without power as a result of the storm’s significant damage to power lines and a critical transformer station. With officials comparing the scale of the damage to what was seen in the aftermath of the 1998 ice storm, questions are turning to how the city will recover.
Right now, there is no clear estimate on the cost of the recovery.
But with severe damage to the transformer station and more than 60 homes in the city’s western Dunrobin area, as well as to 1,686 units in 210 buildings in Gatineau, Que., that number could rise into the millions.
WATCH BELOW: People picking up the pieces after tornado rips through Ottawa neighbourhood
At least $1 million has already been made available by the province of Quebec to assist the Red Cross in immediate recovery, including transportation of people to temporary housing facilities and food.
Premier Philippe Couillard said on Saturday while surveying the damage that more will come if needed, but putting a finger on the cost isn’t yet possible.
WATCH BELOW: ‘Something like a movie scene’: Ottawa mayor on damage in Dunrobin after tornado
“It’s too early to say that,” he said. “We’re concentrating on people, on getting people home as soon as possible, as safely as possible, because obviously some of these houses cannot be used by people, probably won’t be able to be used by people forever. So we need to take care of them.”
Also on Saturday, Environment Canada announced that preliminary evidence suggests the storm was at least an EF2 tornado with winds reaching 180 km/h.
Tornadoes are ranked on what’s known as the six-point Enhanced Fujita scale that increases from weakest to strongest.
There have been several other cases of EF2 tornados in Ontario and Quebec in recent years.
One hit the small Quebec town of Saint-Julien just two weeks ago.
WATCH BELOW: Dark clouds swirl above Gatineau as a tornado touches down in the area
Another hit Midland, Ont., in 2010, destroying about 50 residences, damaging 100 commercial structures, and resulting in 50 people being taken to hospital.
Insurance experts predicted at the time the cost of that storm would hit $15 million.
An EF2 tornado in the Fergus area near Toronto caused $500 million worth of damage in 2005, making it the second-costliest tornado in Canadian history.
In 2011, an F3 tornado — equivalent roughly to an EF03 or the next level up from what struck on Friday — hit Goderich, Ont., with insurance estimates placing the cost at $75 million.
An F1 tornado, just below the threshold of what hit Ottawa-Gatineau, struck Lachute, Que., and the cost of cleanup ran into the millions.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued a statement on Saturday saying he had instructed provincial officials to provide “whatever resources are required to support Ottawa as they work to recover.”
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told reporters that same day he appreciated the province’s offer, but that the city had the situation under control.