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Research team confirms whether a tornado hit community east of Orillia

A research team has determined a powerful storm that uprooted trees and downed power lines last week in Udney, Ont., was not a tornado but a downburst.

The community near Brechin, east of Orillia, was hit by the severe weather system on Wednesday, with many residents reporting property damage.

"It was pretty scary," said resident Howard Parkins. "You couldn't see three feet in front of your face. There was so much debris flying."

The Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) team descended on the area the following day to examine the damage and confirmed an EF0 downburst occurred as a line of storms pushed through Central Ontario.

Storm damage in Udney, Ont., on Thurs., Sept. 7, 2023. (CTV News/Mike Arsalides)

The team added that the tree and "minor'' structural damage appeared widely scattered, adding that "many of the trees also had obvious rot."

NTP Executive Director Dr. David Sills explained a tornado creates a long, narrow damage path that is usually a couple hundred metres wide and a couple kilometres long, at least.

"With a downburst, the damage is more spread out, widespread," he described.

The team examined the area on the ground and used a drone in the air to document the damage that ran roughly 3.5 kilometres long and 1.9 kilometres wide.

NTP estimates wind speeds to be around 125 kilometres per hour. Top Stories

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