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Possible tornado in Windsor area injures three, damages homes

The Canadian Press and News staff | posted Thursday, Aug 25th, 2016

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More than a dozen homes were damaged and at least three people injured Wednesday evening amid multiple reports of a possible tornado touching down in southwestern Ontario.

Environment Canada said an eyewitness saw a tornado near LaSalle, a bedroom community near Windsor, at about 7:10 p.m. ET.

The national weather agency had issued a tornado warning for Windsor, Leamington and Essex County around 7:28 p.m.

Environment Canada described the storm and possible tornado as a “dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation” before lifting its tornado warning at about 8 p.m.

Geno Olivastri said he walked outside his home and noticed some debris stirring about and the next thing he knew, a funnel cloud was forming.

“I was totally shocked at what I was seeing,” he told CityNews. “It was pretty incredible to see something like that in this area. I don’t recall the last time a tornado has been through the LaSalle area, so I was pretty scary.”

A funnel cloud in the Windsor area on Aug. 24, 2016. Courtesy of Geno Olivastri.

A funnel cloud in the Windsor area on Aug. 24, 2016. Courtesy of Geno Olivastri.

Mark Robinson, a storm chaser with stormhunter.ca, posted images of the damage in Windsor from his Twitter account.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said about 15 homes had been damaged in the storm and that the Red Cross and city agencies were trying to determine how to best help the affected residents.

“We’re just trying to assess what needs to be done to make sure those folks are taken care of by the way of accommodation for this evening.”

Dilkens also told a late night news briefing at a city fire station that three people suffered non-life threatening injuries.

“There were three people transported to hospital … the injuries were reported as not life-threatening, not critical injuries, but they were taken to hospital as a precaution.”

Windsor police were warning residents to avoid the Deziel Dr. area because of damage.

They also reported that hydro poles had been knocked down and there were some live wires as a result.

Lasalle resident Tom Greer said he was on his back porch with his girlfriend watching the storm when he saw funnel clouds forming in the distance.

“I’ve never seen anything like it before,” said Greer, adding that he saw tree branches and other debris swirling around.

He said the area with the most damage was just a kilometre from his home.

“We went for a drive afterward and some houses had the roofs torn off,” Greer said of the homes on Victory Street — the area that he said sustained the most damage.

A spokeswoman for Environment Canada said a team would be in the area early Thursday to assess the damage and confirm whether a tornado had touched down.

Tornadoes touch down in U.S.

South of the border, multiple tornadoes touched down in central Indiana, tearing the roofs off apartment buildings, sending air conditioners falling onto parked cars and cutting power to thousands of people.

The National Weather Service reported a “confirmed large and destructive tornado” hit about 10 miles east of Kokomo, or about 64 kilometres north of Indianapolis.

Police officers in Indianapolis spotted at least two funnel clouds close to the ground in the city just south of Interstate 70, but the department had received no reports of damage, according to Officer Jim Gillespie of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

Local emergency dispatchers said only minor injuries had been reported. Television station WTHR showed images of downed trees and a toppled Starbucks in the area.

With files from The Associated Press

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