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Old 03-19-2010, 04:53 PM
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Derecho Derecho is offline
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Default 08/07/79 violent tornado outbreak - Georgian Bay Area southeast to Lake Erie.

During the morning of August 7, 1979 a cold front stalled across Georgian Bay and severe thunderstorms quickly developed producing several weak tornadoes across Bruce, Grey, Dufferin and Simcoe counties. CP24 in Toronto(which had a different name at the time) began following the storm system issuing updates and relaying weather bureau information to many in southwest Ontario throughout the entire day.

As the day progressed the front began its southeastward trend and a supercell developed near Stratford and produced an F3 tornado around 6pm. The tornado quickly dissipated, but formed again at 618pm and quickly intensified into a kilometre wide F4 tornado near Hickson in Oxford County. The tornado tore up farms and outbuildings eventually dissipating near Bright south of Cambridge.

Close to 7pm that evening another supercell developed about 10km northwest of Woodstock and quickly produced a tornado near Embro. This tornado intensified into a kilometre wide black wedge tornado and pushed into southern portions of Woodstock just after 7pm quickly leveling entire subdivisions and stripping trees of their bark. Straw and other flimsy long items were jammed into walls and there were instances of long steel poles lodging themselves half in and out of peoples homes.

The tornado continued southeast and completely took out the town of Oxford Centre and also severely damaged most of Vanessa and New Durham. The tornado dissipated after 8pm over southeast Norfolk County and all remaining thunderstorms in Ontario had moved into the USA by 930pm.

The Woodstock tornado in some cases left only the empty foundations of houses. As it crossed the 401 it picked up cars and transport trucks and tossed them around like toys. The Oxford Centre 100 yr old Town Hall was completely destroyed and a cathedral near Vanessa sought a similar fate.

Government response was immediate and by the following day relief workers with religious groups and volunteers were descending on the affected areas to help in any way they could. Local residents set up food stations and the relief workers stood in long lines at farmsteads or homes for breakfast, lunch and supper as the locals were kind enough to supply food stocks they had. According to the London Free Press, most meals consisted of soup.

Aftermath:
1,000 left homeless
350 homes completely destroyed
2 fatalities
150 injuries

My sources of information for this tornado outbreak: CP24, Environment Canada and the London Free Press. All photos provided by the London Free Press.
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Last edited by Derecho; 03-19-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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