Ontario has averaged 12 to 13 tornadoes each year for the past three decades, with most of those touching down in “tornado alley,” a corridor of land between Windsor and Barrie.
“If most occur in Southern Ontario, then maybe one or two occur in Eastern Ontario,” said Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with the Meteorological Service of Canada, a division of Environment and Climate Change Canada.
“So to have two in Ottawa last year and one this year is a statistical anomaly. It’s just so unlikely to happen. It’s like rolling sixes three times in a row. It’s a freak incident.”
Separate tornadoes ripped through Dunrobin and Nepean on Sept. 21 last year, late in the province’s tornado season. The EF-3 tornado that devastated Dunrobin was the most powerful twister seen in Eastern Ontario since 1902, when an EF-4 tornado struck Chesterville. Analysis showed that Sunday’s tornado, which tore up trees and damaged rooftops in Orléans, started at about 5:50 p.m., Kimbell said, in the area of Jeanne d’Arc Boulevard and Highway 417. It tracked across the southern portion of Petrie Island, joined Highway 174 and moved as far east as Clarence Creek.