An EF-1 tornado hit Ottawa unexpectedly last night, catching both residents and weather experts by surprise. The storm, which touched down at around 5:55 PM about 10 kilometres southeast of the Gatineau airport, came suddenly and without warning for many residents. Environment Canada issued a warning about the Ottawa tornado after the storm had already begun.

In a report by the Ottawa Citizen, Robert Kuhn, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, attempted to explain the reasoning for the delayed warning. Kuhn claimed that there was nothing in Sunday’s weather data that indicated a tornado was about to hit.  “It wasn’t a classic environment,” he said. Kuhn went on to explain that the weather on Sunday was neither too hot or too cold and that the wind was “nothing to write home about.” 

By the time the warnings did go out, the tornado had already made its way across the Ottawa River. The twister was seen travelling along Highway 175 in east Ottawa, catching residents completely off-guard. Many residents called out officials for failing to warn them about the tornado:

Thankfully, despite the lack of warnings, there were no serious injuries or deaths reported as a result of the storm. According to CBC, trees were ripped out of the ground and homes were walloped by the surprising weather in Ottawa’s Orléans neighbourhood. Local paramedics claimed that they responded to a call regarding a branch that had fallen onto a resident’s head, but the injuries sustained by the victim had been minor.

Ottawa’s Highway 174 and J'eanne D'Arc Boulevard were shut down as a result of the storm. Both roadways are now open.

Ottawa city officials also received reports of power outages and first responders performed door-to-door checks in the areas affected. Officials are telling people with downed trees to call 311.

*Cover photo used for illustrative purposes only.