A deadly thunderstorm complex cuts power to nearly a million people in Canada

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A streak of violent thunderstorms hit Canada’s most populous corridor on Saturday, killing at least five people and cutting power to nearly a million people.

The storms carved a path of destruction from southern Ontario to southeastern Quebec, passing near or directly through three of Canada’s four largest cities: Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa. The size of Toronto International Airport, the largest in the country, had wind gusts of about 75 miles per hour. Ottawa International Airport, another major hub, also recorded a gust of 75 mph.

Environment CanadaThe country’s weather and climate agency reported five deaths and several injuries due to the high winds. It also reported “significant damage to trees, power lines and buildings,” as well as rollovers and widespread outages.

At least three of the five deaths in Ontario and Ottawa resulted from falling trees, according to law enforcement agencies.

One of those deaths occurred when a tree fell on a trailer in the Lake Pinehurst Conservation Area, Ontario Provincial Police reported. Another event occurred in Brampton, west of Toronto, when a large tree hit a woman walking during the storm, Peel Regional Police He said on Twitter. And in Ottawa, Police confirmed Sunday, a tree fell on a 59-year-old man on a golf course the day before, killing him.

In another incident, a woman was killed when her boat capsized on the Ottawa River The Toronto Star reported.

Details about the fifth victim remained unclear Sunday. The Star newspaper reported that a 44-year-old man was killed in Greater Madawaska, west of Ottawa, also after he was struck by a falling tree. The publication could not verify the information.

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“My thoughts are with their family and friends and my condolences on behalf of all Ontarians,” Ottawa Premier Dodge Ford Tweet on Saturday evening.

Many of the deaths emphasize a common theme in high wind events: those who participate in outdoor activities are especially vulnerable to gusts of violent winds. The US Storm Prediction Center website says that “people engaged in outdoor activities are at particular risk,” particularly “campaigners or hikers in woodland areas,” who are “at risk of injury or death from fallen trees.”

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Extensive damage to trees and energy infrastructure has also dealt a heavy blow to electricity distribution in the urban corridor. As of Saturday evening, blackout complex PowerOutage.com About 925,000 outages are listed in Quebec and Ontario, which is a huge event for a country of over 38 million people. Sunday morning, PowerOutage.com It still reported nearly 700,000 customers without electricity.

Emergency crews responded to more than 500 calls on Saturday for falling power lines, fires, fallen trees and damaged buildings, CTV Ottawa mentioned.

The Storm Compound almost certainly qualifies as Direcho, or a group of thunderstorms that produce extremely strong winds across a wide area. The effects of the violent Derecho winds are often similar to those of hurricanes. Derechos are somewhat common in the lower 48 states but are much rarer north of the border and rarely affect these densely populated lanes.

Derechos often strike along the Northern Ocean for thermal domes, where conditions are ripe for powerful thunderstorms. In fact, unusual early-season temperatures escalated over eastern North America on Saturday, with several cities in the eastern United States setting records.

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The combination of this heat and moisture drawn north from the Gulf of Mexico encouraged extreme atmospheric instability, or fuel for thunderstorms, in eastern Canada. Storms broke out when this hot, humid air was met with a strong cold front moving eastward. It was the same cold front that caused temperatures in Denver to drop more than 50 degrees in 24 hours and helped trigger the deadly tornado in Gaylord, Michigan.

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Historically, the far southeast of Canada sees about one event every four years, according to the Storm Forecast Center. But the Sabbath event was far from the norm in the Northeast and struck at an uncharacteristic time of year; Several Canadian dericos hit in July or August.

The unusual characteristics of El Diricho on Saturday may represent a trend linked to climate change at the site of devastating thunderstorm events. According to the Storm Prediction Center’s website“Passages with maximum pressure frequency likely to shift to pole over time” as warm, high-pressure domes expand northward under global warming.

Paulina Villegas contributed to this report

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