Ontario Premier Doug Ford visits Ottawa area in the wake of devastating tornadoes
OTTAWA – Ontario Premier Doug Ford has arrived in the Ottawa neighbourhood hardest hit by a pair of tornadoes that snapped power lines and levelled homes on Friday.
Ford was accompanied by city Mayor Jim Watson as he toured houses ravaged by the twister that tore through the community of Dunrobin before jumping the Ottawa River to Gatineau, Que.
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Meantime, hydro crews are working to untangle and repair fallen power lines and restore electricity to the region.
The national weather agency says a powerful EF-3 category twister – with winds that reached 265 kilometres per hour – ripped through Dunrobin, about 35 kilometres west of the downtown area, before moving on to Gatineau.
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The agency said that at almost the same time a second, slightly less powerful twister, touched down in the south Ottawa neighbourhood of Arlington Woods.
The twin tornadoes caused massive damage obliterating dozens of homes, tossing vehicles around, snapping huge trees and injuring several people, at least two of whom were admitted to hospital in critical condition.
At one point more than 200,000 hydro customers were blacked out, but as of Sunday morning, the Hydro Ottawa and Hydro Quebec websites reported the number had been reduced to fewer than 80,000 – 70,000 in the Ottawa area and 8,300 in the Outaouais region, which encompasses Gatineau.
The Ontario government announced Saturday that it was activating the province’s Disaster Recovery Assistance program in affected areas, while the Quebec government announced it would give the Red Cross $1 million to help with relief efforts.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also tweeted Saturday that he’d spoken with the mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau to offer federal assistance.
© 2018 The Canadian Press