'An absolute mess': Severe thunderstorms rip through southern Ontario

A severe thunderstorm caused extensive damage throughout southern Ontario on Tuesday.

Environment Canada issued a severe thunderstorm warning for much of the area. The storm began approaching from the northwest and moving through the province into the afternoon and evening.

A severe thunderstorm warning was in effect for Kitchener, Waterloo, Cambridge, Mount Forest, Arthur and Wellington County from about 5:40 p.m. to 7 p.m. The warning came into effect again around 9:40 p.m.

The weather agency was tracking a severe thunderstorm capable of bringing hail, heavy downpours and strong winds gusting up to 110 kilometres per hour.

As of 12 a.m. Wednesday, Kitchener’s Stanley Park area had seen a total of 26 millimetres from two thunderstorms, according to a tweet from Environment Canada meteorologist Rob Kuhn. He also says the strongest wind gusts at that point were an estimated 65 km/h from the first storm.

The storm also knocked out power in some communities. But local hydro companies like Kitchener Wilmot Hydro and Waterloo North Hydro were showing no outages as of 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Ontario Provincial Police say heavy rain overnight has resulted in flooding in some areas, covering live road lanes and shoulders.

Heavy rain resulting in large pooling of water covering live lanes and shoulders. #Hwy7-8 eastbound at Courtland Av. #Slowdown #CambridgeOPP #wetroads #MTO ^td pic.twitter.com/wUXULkIeCS

— OPP Highway Safety Division (@OPP_HSD) September 8, 2021

Damage from the storm was also noticeable in areas including Port Albert, Sauble Beach and Huron County.

Communities along the Lake Huron shoreline were also hit hard.

"We heard a thump, which I knew was a tree hitting the ground and we went into the cold room and stayed there until the wind subsided," said Lucknow resident Lynn McDonagh.

She described what she saw after as "a disaster, an absolute mess."

About eight trees fell and one went right through the roof.

In Minto, one homeowner said their motor home was standing upright on the concrete slab but after he watched it roll in the wind, he knew it was time to head to the basement. A nearby tree was also knocked over.

Environment Canada had issued a tornado warning for the area. Western University's Norther Tornadoes Project has two teams out surveying the damage.

"It's too early to say obviously but it looks like there might have been multiple tornadoes touchdowns mixed in with some bursts or micro bursts, but that's basically what the team is going to try and determine today whether it was a tornado," said Francis Lavigne-Theriult, a research assistant with the Northern Tornadoes Project.

Here's a look at the storm as shared on social media:

Waterloo Region certainly didn’t get the worst of the #ONStorm from last might - but you may come across pooling on local roads or some downed trees/branches if you’re heading out this morning. pic.twitter.com/0giL2rGqxr

— Tegan Versolatto (@TeganVersolatto) September 8, 2021

Saugeen Shores experienced a significant weather event. Many power lines are down or compromised and trees are obstructing roadways in many locations #ssps2021 pic.twitter.com/R8CYRdBRiA

— Saugeen Shores Police Service (@SSPSofficial) September 7, 2021

Worst damage I've seen so far is at this farm in Kingsbridge. At least one structure is gone. Debris scattered everywhere. Area farmers are gathered making sure the animals are safe/have a place to go. #ONStorm #onwx #ontag pic.twitter.com/TPDkJ15NL8

— Marc Venema (@MarcVenemaCTV) September 7, 2021

More from along this storm route. #ONStorm #onwx pic.twitter.com/dLet8Ok2SZ

— Marc Venema (@MarcVenemaCTV) September 7, 2021

Highway 1 (road?) South of Lucknow with multiple trees and powerline down. Stopped and made sure residents were okay. #onstorm pic.twitter.com/yr2oGU33Ue

— Anton Falco (@AntonFalcoWx) September 7, 2021

Here we go again ! #ONStorm Take cover !!!! pic.twitter.com/amO3h8kmKy

— RealDebacle (@RealDebacle) September 7, 2021

Tornado went north of here….
Close enough for me now it’s time to go check my neighbours to the north. #ONStorm pic.twitter.com/J5JygCzWwO

— Dan Hayden (@Dungannon_Dan) September 7, 2021

In Port Albert pic.twitter.com/HqsbJBQ72y

— Karen Lacey (@melrose137) September 7, 2021

Last day in Ontario, and a tornado rips through. Lucknow got hit hard. #ONStorm pic.twitter.com/rckFm70BYp

— Tim Herd (@timherdradio) September 7, 2021