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‘We think we dodged a bullet’: Environment Canada says worst of Ontario storms is over

Click to play video: 'Ontario communities see downed trees, heavy rain as storm rolls through' Ontario communities see downed trees, heavy rain as storm rolls through
The communities of Kinmount, Kemptville and Winchester, Ont., saw downed trees and heavy rain on Sunday as a storm rolled through parts of eastern Ontario – Aug 2, 2020

Environment Canada says the worst of the storms that travelled across central and eastern Ontario on Sunday is over, but some areas of the province should still brace for wet weather Sunday night.

The federal weather agency placed many municipalities under various warnings and watches — including tornado, severe thunderstorm and rainfall — on Sunday afternoon. All of those weather alerts were lifted by about 10:30 p.m.

Peter Kimbell, an Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist based in Ottawa, confirmed the stormy weather caused damage in Camden East, northwest of Kingston, at around 2:30 p.m., just before the agency issued a tornado watch for some areas.

“There were 20 to 30 trees uprooted or damaged, a roof of the house removed or partly removed, and parts of a few other houses partly removed or partly damaged,” Kimbell said of the damage in Camden East.

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Click to play video: 'Heavy rain pummels Kawarthas as storm hits eastern Ontario' Heavy rain pummels Kawarthas as storm hits eastern Ontario
Heavy rain pummels Kawarthas as storm hits eastern Ontario – Aug 2, 2020

Reports of that damage prompted Environment Canada to upgrade tornado watches to warnings towards the east, covering the Ottawa, Cornwall-Morrisburg, Smiths Falls and Brockville areas.

“There were about three or four thunderstorms cells that were exhibiting rotation on radar,” Kimbell said in a phone interview.

“We could not be certain that they were tornadic, but we had to issue a warning for them anyway.”

Kimbell said the damage in Camden East has been the worst reported to Environment Canada, as of Sunday evening. Photos posted to social media also showed downed power lines and broken poles in the hamlet located in Stone Mills Township.

Read more: July 2020 fourth hottest July on record for London, Ont., hottest since 1955

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However, Kimbell said some tree damage was also reported in Oxford Mills, near Kemptville, Ont.

Video footage posted to Twitter appears to show a funnel cloud that formed in that area, located south of Ottawa.

Ontario Provincial Police said on Twitter they closed a section of County Rd 121 in Kinmount, near Kawartha Lakes, for “damage sustained during (the) storm.”

Kimbell said Environment Canada cannot confirm at this time whether any tornadoes touched down on Sunday.

“The damage in Camden might have been a down burst. We don’t know,” he said.

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Read more: July 2020 fourth hottest July on record for London, Ont., hottest since 1955

The tornado warnings were all downgraded to watches by 5:20 p.m.

The following areas in eastern Ontario remained under tornado watches — meaning conditions are “favourable” for the formation of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms — until around 10 p.m. on Sunday.

  • Brockville-Leeds and Grenville
  • City of Ottawa
  • Cornwall-Morrisburg
  • Prescott and Russell
  • Smiths Falls-Lanark-Sharbot Lake
  • Stirling-Tweed-South Frontenac
Click to play video: 'Preparing for tornado season' Preparing for tornado season
Preparing for tornado season – Jul 24, 2020

Meanwhile, to the west, other areas of the province remained under rainfall and severe thunderstorm warnings for several hours.

“It could very well be more showers and the possibility still of a thunderstorm … but the worst of it is over,” Kimbell said of Sunday’s rough weather.

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Read more: Toronto conservation authority warns of flooding in some low-lying areas

The storms passed over the Greater Toronto Area earlier Sunday, dumping 70 millimetres of rain in some areas, according to Global News weather specialist Carla Bosacki.

“The Don River, for instance, has started to flood, so that’s causing concern. And there (are) flood warnings in place for the Don River in the Toronto area,” Bosacki said.

Environment Canada’s weather alerts can be found on the agency’s website.

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