Tornado touched down in Mirabel, no injuries or damages: Environment Canada

"Go indoors, brace yourself," says Simon Legault of Environment Canada, as several regions in southern Quebec including Montreal were put under a tornado watch. Felisha Adam reports.

By News Staff & The Canadian Press

Environment Canada confirmed one tornado touched down north of Montreal and a second is suspected to have hit southwest of the city as severe thunderstorms ripped across eastern Ontario and Quebec on Thursday.

The confirmed tornado was in a field near the airport in Mirabel, Que., where there were no reports of injury or damage, Environment Canada spokesperson Katarina Radovanovic said.

The other tornado is suspected to have hit an area with no built infrastructure in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., also causing no damage, she said.

Tornado touches down in Mirabel, Quebec. Credit: Facebook, Judith Thériault)

“We have confirmed one tornado that was observed at Mirabel International Airport,” said Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist, Monica Vaswani. 

“At around 3 p.m., they observed a funnel cloud. 19 minutes later, they reported a tornado, so that means they could actually confirm that it was a tornado on the ground at that time,” she added.

It was the Environment Canada weather observer situated at the Mirabel airport that noticed it.

“They could see it in their line of sight. So that can still be many kilometers away, but we don’t have exact details as to specifically how far it was.”

Vaswani adding the agency had received reports of other rotating cloud formations that may have produced tornadoes in Ontario and Quebec, but it was unable to confirm additional touchdowns.

Environment Canada lifted tornado warnings that earlier in the day covered much of southwestern Quebec, including Montreal, but severe thunderstorm warnings persisted in many areas Thursday afternoon. The agency also issued a warning for a possible “marine tornado” along the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Trois-Rivières.

In Sorel-Tracy, east of Montreal, there were reports that powerful winds had caused heavy damage.

Downtown Montreal storm tornado watchDowntown Montreal on July 13, 2023 – amid tornado watch. (CityNews Image)

The alerts in Quebec came after a tornado touched down in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Barrhaven, where about 125 homes were damaged but there were no reports of injuries.

Downtown Montreal storm tornado watch

The storm system was accompanied by high winds and torrential rains that led to flooding of some streets and highways in Montreal. The Décarie Expressway was closed in both directions at the height of the evening rush hour because of water accumulation. It reopened about an hour later.

At Montreal’s Trudeau Airport, many flights were delayed or cancelled, and wind gusts up to 98 km/h were recorded.

Mayor Valérie Plante wrote on Twitter late Thursday that “despite the power of the storm, no major damage has been done to municipal infrastructures at this point.”

Air quality

In conjunction with tornado and severe thunderstorm watches, Environment Canada issued special air quality bulletins for several regions of the province Thursday.

High concentrations of fine particles from forest fires will lead to poor air quality and reduced visibility in the Quebec City, Saguenay, Lac-Saint-Jean and Beauce regions, as well as in parts of the Mauricie region.

– This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on July 13, 2023.

Top Stories

Top Stories