Ontario's weather can get pretty extreme, that's no secret. But did you know the province has the potential to produce powerful tornadoes like the U.S.? Tornadoes in Ontario aren't anywhere near as common as they are south of the border, but they are "absolutely" possible, according to one expert.

Your chances of experiencing a tornado in Southern Ontario are pretty slim but they are possible.

This week, The Weather Network was warning of potential tornadoes in northwestern areas of the province. An official tornado warning was even issued in the Kenora area.

But interestingly, according to Mark Robinson, TWN's "storm hunter," even the southern side of the province can get some pretty scary outbreaks.

He notes the area has seen significant tornado action in the past in 1985 and as recently as 2009.

That 2009 chaos, in fact, was the largest single-day tornado outbreak in Ontario's history, per TWN, as a ridiculous 19 of them hit the GTA and nearby areas.

"Can we get tornado outbreaks in Southern Ontario the way they do in Tornado Alley in the United States? The answer is yes," says Robinson. 

He explains that while it's not really something that "just happens," it doesn't take too much for the right conditions to occur.

Robinson explains that all you really need is a "tremendous" amount of energy up in the atmosphere and a good amount of wind shear, which is a drastic change in the speed or direction of a gust.

Add those factors together, explains Robinson, and boom, you have a potential tornado storm.

Erm, no thanks.

There are a few reasons why we don't necessarily see mother nature's wrath in this sense, one being that Southern Ontario is actually pretty small compared to the rest of the province, Canada, and North America.

The second reason is low-pressure air being pushed across North America, Robinson explains.

Just a few months ago, though, southern Ontario was under a severe weather watch for thunderstorms, snow, and even tornadoes.

As usual, though, the tornadoes didn't materialize, which is probably for the best.

But, if the memories of 2009 aren't enough, Robinson's explanation is a reminder that devastating tornadoes can pop up in Ontario.

"If you get the meteorological conditions, you get the timing right, everything lines up, you can absolutely have a tornado outbreak here in Ontario so it's definitely something we need to pay attention to."

We might take those warnings more seriously next time.

NOW WATCH Tornado Warning in Ontario

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