Destructive F2 tornado tracks from Ayton to Markdale, strikes the town of Durham
The F2 tornado at Durham, Ontario. In the mid afternoon, the first supercell of the day formed over southeast Lower Michigan. It tracked across the southern tip of Lake Huron into Ontario and, at approximately 4:00pm, produced the first tornado of what would become Canada’s largest outbreak on record. It touched down to the southwest of Ayton and tracked for 48km to the northeast of Markdale, destroying barns, knocking down power poles and levelling swaths of forest along its path which was up to 400m wide.
About halfway through its track, the tornado passed through and devastated the south side of Durham. There, several large offices, supply stores and warehouses in an industrial park were torn apart with debris scattered hundreds of metres away. Houses in and around town had windows smashed and their roofs torn off. Tragically, at a day camp that was taking place at the conservation area on the east side of Durham, children were unable to find shelter as trees were snapped and tents and concession stands were thrown by the twister. Several children were injured and an eleven year old boy was killed by flying debris.
The tornado was witnessed by residents of Durham who watched in horror as the it swept through their town. It was large and bowl-shaped, an ominous grey mass that at times exhibited a multiple vortex structure. They captured photos and video of the tornado as it ripped through the town’s industrial park, tearing buildings and walls off of buildings as it churned with more and more debris.
This was the first of nineteen tornadoes that struck Southern and Central Ontario on August 20. The others:
- damaging F2 that hit The Blue Mountains
- F1 at Arnstein
- F1 that tracked between New Lowell and Edenvale
- F1 at Newmarket
- damaging F2 in the Woodbridge neighbourhood of Vaughan
- F0 at Moonstone
- damaging F2 tornado in the Maple neighbourhood of Vaughan
- F0 at Dollars Lake
- F1 that struck Gravenhurst
- F1 at Milton
- F0 near North Bay
- F1 near Haliburton
- F0 at Redstone Lake
- F1 at Ril Lake
- F0 at Orono
- F1 at Rice Lake
- F1 that tracked from Bancroft to Carlow Mayo
- F1 at Buckshot Lake