A suspected tornado touched down near Windsor, Ont. Wednesday evening, according to Environment Canada leaving more than a dozen homes and at least three people injured.
An eyewitness reported the tornado in LaSalle, a suburb of Windsor at 7:10 p.m. ET. Residents said the damage was widespread affecting homes and businesses.
“I’ve seen the front of buildings torn off, transport-size pieces of roof hanging from trees and across power lines, hydro poles laid down like matchsticks,” said Windsor resident Larry Leede.
Homeowner Grey Tremblay said he was watching TV in his living room when he heard a big roar and hid in his bedroom.
“When I heard the roar, I knew what it was. I slammed this door, the other door and ran into my bedroom, jumped across the bed and hid in between the wall and the bed,” he said.
“It was just a great big vibration. When people think of freight train it goes ‘Woo-woo-woo.’ It’s just a great big rumble.”
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 homeowner Shannon Shaw said she saw a funnel cloud near her home and immediately sought shelter.
“We were looking out the kitchen window and we said, ‘Wow, it’s really raining hard.’ The gas barbecue was over there and it went up in the air. We see the funnel cloud over there so we took off and took shelter in the basement,” Shaw said.
“When we came up out the side door, we see our neighbour’s RV on top of his truck and we came outside and assessed the damage. It shifted my whole garage over, the other side is buckled.”
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 officially confirm whether a tornado had touched down.