Ontario’s tornado alley stretches into our region
Environment Canada say Ontario’s tornado alley does stretch into our area and so far this season four of the seven confirmed tornadoes have happened in our region.
A tornado is usually a rare sight for many people in the province but in the past month the tornado season has been really active.
“It was a slow start but we’ve more than made up for lost time during the month of June,” says Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson.
Seven tornadoes have already touched down in Ontario this season, that’s more than half of the yearly average.
Ontario’s tornado alley stretches from Windsor through the London area and into Dufferin and Simcoe County’s.
“It’s an extension of one of the branches that come from the US in the Ohio valley,” added Coulson.
Since June 17th, four of the seven confirmed tornadoes have touchdown in our region, including Angus, Amaranth, Stroud and near Tottenham. Ontario’s tornado alley is getting bigger and our region is getting more tornado activity.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve seen more activity in the Barrie, Dufferin County area – around Lake Simcoe and event east from there. We’re not sure if this is a trend or more of cyclical thing,” added Coulson.
The most severe event of the season so far was the EF-2 tornado that roared through an Angus subdivision last month. That’s right in the middle of tornado alley.
The frequency of tornadoes is sporadic, Coulson says there are two reasons we’re hearing about them more often.
“These areas have more people living in them then there were back in the 80s and 90s. We also have the social media phenomenon – giving people the mechanism to report it as it’s happening,” added Coulson.
And while the tornadoes this year haven’t been as strong as some in the past, Coulson says Ontario is due for a powerful EF-4 tornado like the deadly Barrie tornado in 1985 that killed eight people and levelled homes.
“We’re overdue for one of these high end events. It’s still quite possible anywhere in central and southern Ontario.”
There is no way of predicting when or where it will hit. Until then meteorologists with Environment Canada can only track the storm systems as they roll through.
Tornado season typically peaks sometime in July and August but could be extended to October if weather conditions remain unstable. That also means we could see more severe weather events like thunderstorms, strong wind gusts and hail.