September 24, 2018 1:59 pm
Updated: September 24, 2018 2:03 pm

Timeline: Tornadoes, high winds cause heavy damage, power loss in National Capital Region

A massive cleanup operation is underway in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, roughly 24 hours after two violent twisters tore apart lives and homes. One of the hardest hit communities was the small village of Dunrobin. Mike Le Couteur checked in with its devastated residents.


On Friday, Sept. 21, two tornadoes touched down in the Ottawa-Gatineau area, leaving almost 200,000 people without power.

As of Monday morning, that number has shrunk to around 4,000 due to the efforts of Ottawa Hydro and Hydro One to repair the damage done by the twisters.

While residents of Ottawa and Gatineau are looking to rebuild and restock, here’s a look at what happened over the last couple of days during the tornadoes, the aftermath and the work that went in to providing food, shelter and power to those in the area.

Sept. 21 

  • A severe weather warning issued by Environment Canada in the morning said conditions would be favourable for the formation of tornadoes
  • 4:44 p.m.: Emergency warning sent to mobile phones in the coverage area saying a tornado warning was in effect and for people to take cover if threatening weather approaches
  • 4:50 p.m. – 5:20 p.m.:  An EF-3 tornado touches down in Dunrobin and Gatineau with wind speeds up to 265 km/h, destroying several homes and severely damaging others

WATCH: Drone surveys damage from tornado that touched down in Dunrobin

  • 6:00 p.m.: An EF-2 tornado touches down in Arlington Woods with wind speeds reaching 220 km/h damaging several homes and trees and causing “catastrophic” damage to a Hydro One power transfer station, knocking power out to some 147,000 people.
  • Hydro Ottawa reports 221 separate outages across the city.
  • Emergency shelter set up for residents who lost their homes across the city.

Sept. 22

  • All available crews have been called in to fix the power outages across the city, Hydro Ottawa and Hydro One crews work 16-hour shifts, 24 hours a day to bring power back online.
  • People see their homes in the morning for the first time after the tornadoes hit. Many have nothing left.

WATCH: Homes left in pieces after tornado blows through Ottawa neighbourhood

  • 8:00 a.m.: Councillors and city officials begin setting up warm meal stations in the city for people. Barrhaven and Nepean residents are fed pancakes for breakfast, hot dogs and corn for lunch and spaghetti for dinner at Larkin house. Burgers are served at Minto centre. Salvation Army provides food in Manordale.
  • The government of Ontario activates the disaster recovery assistance program which will help pay for damage “over and above” that which is provided by insurance.

  • Alectra Utilities sends 18 technicians to help fix the outages
  • As food begins to go bad, the city of Ottawa provides dumpsters for food waste.
  • 6:00 p.m.: Power begins to come back on for residents in Kanata, Bridlewood and Glen Cairn

Sept. 23

  • More power is restored across the city bit by bit
  • 5:00 a.m.: The number of customers without power has dropped considerably to 70,000 by 100 outages. Barrhaven, large parts of Nepean are still without power

  • 6:00 p.m.: Power restored to most of Barrhaven and Nepean. Those hardest hit nearest the transfer station — Arlington Woods and Craig Henry — will be without power until Monday.

Sept. 24

  • 11:45 a.m.: The number of customers without power is reduced to 3,800
  • 1 p.m.: Ottawa police provide update on Dunrobin

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