Canada  

Dozens injured, no deaths

Parts of Canada's national capital were still reeling Saturday after a powerful tornado carved paths of destruction through residential neighbourhoods — snapping huge trees, tossing cars and obliterating homes along its way.

The tornado inflicted heavy damage late Friday as it churned across pockets of Ottawa's west and south ends, as well as densely populated sections of the neighbouring Quebec city of Gatineau.

The storm's bite continued to be felt across a wide swath of the region many hours later, with more than 150,000 customers still without power Saturday afternoon. Hydro Ottawa CEO Bryce Conrad compared the magnitude of the damage to the power grid to the debilitating ice storm of 1998.

The human toll was also significant. Authorities said dozens of people suffered injuries, however there were no reports of fatalities or of missing people.

The Ottawa Hospital tweeted that two people were in critical condition, one was in serious condition and two others were stable. Officials established shelters for those who couldn't return home and they said crisis counselling would be available.

On the north side of the Ottawa River, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin said more than 700 of his citizens were impacted by the storm and about 100 people took refuge in a shelter Friday night at a local college. More than 215 buildings suffered damage or were destroyed in his city — affecting a total of 1,686 housing units, he added.

In areas lashed by the tornado, scenes of the havoc were everywhere. The winds tore the roofs from numerous large buildings, bounced large sections of metal bleachers across soccer fields, knocked over hydro poles and cracked thick trees like twigs.

"It looked like it was something from a movie scene or a war scene," Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told reporters Saturday recalling what he saw in the area of Dunrobin, where some 60 buildings were wiped out or partially destroyed.

"Literally, it looks like some bomb was dropped from the air."

Much of Dunrobin, a semi-rural community about 35 kilometres west of downtown Ottawa, remained cordoned off by police Saturday afternoon.

It was eerily quiet inside the police perimeter of one of Dunrobin's most-damaged neighbourhoods — and only a few trees were still standing. Personal items were strewn everywhere — a baby blanket, a life jacket, mattresses, lawn mowers, a fridge, a kitchen sink lying on the grass and even a love seat wrapped around a telephone pole.


ORIGINAL: 8 a.m.

Officials are beginning to tally the damage of a tornado that ripped through the Ottawa area yesterday, sending several people to hospital and levelling buildings.

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning as a result of the twister, which blew through Ottawa, Dunrobin, Ont., and Gatineau, Que., late Friday afternoon.

The agency tweeted drone footage on Saturday morning showing a mass of hydro towers, trees and power lines felled by the storm.

Meantime, Hydro-Quebec said 114,000 customers were affected by outages in that province.

Damage from the storm is major — roofs have been torn off homes and cars were overturned on Highway 50 — and the cleanup was just beginning on Saturday morning.

Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin says 215 buildings were damaged or destroyed, and a total of 1,686 homes were affected.

The Ottawa Hospital said in a tweet last night that it was treating six people with injuries related to the tornado.

The hospital said two patients were in critical condition, one had serious injuries, and the others were listed as either stable or in fair condition.

Officials warned people not to re-enter their homes until they had been deemed safe.



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