The huge storms that swept across eastern Canada on Saturday, cutting power to up to 900,000 homes, particularly in the Ottawa region, killed at least eight people, according to an official report revised upwards on Sunday, May 22.
Ontario Provincial Police announced to broadcaster CTVNews the deaths of seven people who were killed by falling trees and branches on Saturday, while emergency services counted three the day before. The eighth death was recorded on the Ottawa River on Saturday when a canoeist drowned off Gatineau, a Quebec suburb of Ottawa.
Gusts at 140 km/h
Fierce winds peaking at more than 140 km/h swept into eastern Canada from the central United States on Saturday, national meteorology summarized on Sunday, stressing that it is a rare phenomenon known as “derecho“.
“This storm was almost 1000 km long, from Michigan to Maine“, American states located respectively in the center and northeast of the country, extending through the Canadian provinces “from Ontario and Quebec“, summarized on the local radio David Philipps, meteorologist of the Federal Ministry for the Environment.
“This is called a derecho: a long series of thunderstorms and microbursts‘ explained this renowned scientist, noting that ‘derecho’ ‘is not a word we use often, it is a rare phenomenonThe federal capital Ottawa was particularly hard hit, with thousands of homes still in darkness as of Sunday night while the streets were still strewn with tree branches and various objects carried by winds that took the shape of a tornado in places.
“The last 24 hours have been very, very difficult‘ Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson agreed during a news conference Sunday afternoon, asking his fellow citizens, ‘Remain optimistic despite the challengesraised by the ravages of this summer storm.
Local authorities said it would take several days to clear all blocked roads and streets and return to normal. Around 300,000 homes, particularly in the Ottawa and Laurentians regions (north of Montreal), were still without power as of Sunday night, according to online statements from local utility companies Hydro One and Hydro-Quebec.
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