Haze over Ottawa lifts as thunderstorm pushes smoky air out

Weather warnings and alerts for Ottawa have now officially ended following a thunderstorm that moved across the region. The cold front behind the storm also helped to push out the smoky, hazy air from wildfires in northwestern Ontario that had settled over the city.

A line of severe thunderstorms brought heavy rainfall and strong wind gusts. A severe thunderstorm warning for Ottawa ended at around 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and the severe thunderstorm watch was lifted at around 6:30 p.m.

Warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada Peter Kimbell tells CTV News Ottawa that while the storms were powerful, there was no reported tornado activity.

"We do not have a tornado warning out on it. I know we've heard about possible activity in the Kemptville area but we did not issue a tornado warning. The signature on radar really did not support that this afternoon," he said.

Kimbell said the Ottawa airport recorded wind gusts of up to 65 km/h and about 20 mm of rainfall. 

"Some areas would have had more than that. By the time it's over, some areas will have picked up 30 or maybe 35 millimetres of rain. Some areas will also have seen stronger gusts locally in this particular line of thunderstorms."

Images of uprooted trees, hail and damge to homes were shared online late Tuesday. 

 

@BlacksWeather This is what 3/4”hail sounds like hitting the car in Winchester just after 4:00 pm. Had to wait in car until storm passed. Lots of shredded leaves. I imagine some crop damage to corn and soy beans. pic.twitter.com/8qjYSuaEJP

— James Wilson (@wilsonjamesb) July 20, 2021

 

@AnthonyFarnell @BlacksWeather
Damage from hail just east of Hallville (near Winchester) at around 4:00 pm. Crops destroyed. The green sticks are soybeans and corn and the chipped bark was caused by hail. pic.twitter.com/rYlnrgSblT

— James Wilson (@wilsonjamesb) July 20, 2021

 

Tree fell on a back deck and destroyed it in Hallville. Pictures from Brittany Carkner. #onstorm @NTP_Reports pic.twitter.com/syoxPW2GoH

— Connor Mockett (@ConnorMockettWX) July 20, 2021

 

 

A statement about air quality due to wildfire smoke was first issued Monday evening. Environment Canada lifted it at around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"We have a cold front moving through pushing out all of that air and it should be much more normal tomorrow," Kimbell said.

The smoke lingered for much of Tuesday afternoon, but not enough to stop Robin Stong from heading outdoors for her daily exercise.

“It’s a little disconcerting. It’s supposed to be soot and stuff, so I’m a little concerned about it,” says Stong, adding that wearing a mask has helped. “I’m just taking it slower and not trying to exert too much so I’m not heavy breathing.”

Along the Rideau River, near the Chapman Mills Conservation Area, there was a haze hovering over the waterway. Katherine Birrell, her son William, and friend Meredith Ball continued with their plan to paddle board, despite the conditions.

“It doesn’t feel so smoggy when you’re out on the water,” says Birrell. “It felt fine. I wasn’t working too hard; it was a leisurely paddle.”

For Ball, the smoke is a reminder that her son Logan, a forest ranger, is fighting some of those Ontario wildfires.

“He’s about two hours north of Thunder Bay in Armstrong,” says Ball who spoke to her son on Monday before he was transported by helicopter to another blaze. “Some of the ones they fought have been pretty small and some of them have been much much bigger.”

A smog warning for Gatineau has also ended.

--With files from CTV Ottawa's Megan Shaw and Tyler Fleming.