Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) has confirmed that a tornado reaching wind speeds of 210 kilometres an hour roared through south-Barrie on Thursday afternoon - tearing homes apart, flipping vehicles and injuring several people.
The tornado’s damage track was about five kilometres long and 100 metres wide. The damage track may have continued toward Friday Harbour and over Lake Simcoe, although ECCC says this information is preliminary and could change.
ECCC issued the weather summary at 5:37 a.m. Friday.
It says thunderstorms developed across southern Ontario Thursday but one became severe in the afternoon, as it moved across Barrie, producing a tornado that damaged the southern part of the city, in the area of Mapleview Drive and Prince William Way.
ECCC confirmed it was an EF-2 tornado, which is classified as a twister with wind speeds between 180 and 220 km/h.
Just after 2:30 p.m., a tornado tracked from the miniature golf course on Huronia Road and Mapleview Drive and continued east toward Prince William Way, where it caused significant damage on the north side of Mapleview.
Trees were uprooted or toppled, at least 10 roofs on homes were torn away and the second floor was destroyed or removed from two houses. A couple of vehicles were overturned and roof shingles were damaged or blown away from a number of other homes along the tornado’s track.
An ECCC damage team and Western University’s Northern Tornados Project determined a preliminary tornado rating of EF-2.
In 2013 Environment Canada’s Weather Service introduced a new scale to measure the intensity of wind damage. Called the Enhanced Fujita Scale or EF-Scale, this scale is a more modern and improved version of the original Fujita Scale (F-Scale).
As with the original scale, the EF-Scale is a six-point scale that goes from zero (weakest) to five (strongest). Its adoption unifies the approach to wind damage assessment in Canada and the United States.
An EF0 tornado has wind speeds of 90-130 km/h, EF1 is 135-175 km/h, EF2 is 180-220 km/h, EF3 is 225-265 km/h, EF4 is 270-310 km/h and EF5 is 315 km/h and higher, says ECCC.