Paris, ON F1 Tornado of May 20, 1996

Oxford - Brant

This tornado was caught on video as it tracked for 1.5km on the north side of Paris at about 7:00pm. Several barns were torn apart, trees were snapped and uprooted and houses damaged. On one property, a number of antique cars were battered by debris and destroyed, and damage there was estimated at $500,000.

Figure 1 depicts a low pressure in lower Michigan with a stationary front extending into southern Ontario. This front became the focus for thunderstorm development, which led to the development of this tornado in the evening hours of May 20th.

Figure 1. Surface analysis at 21Z on May 20, 1996 showing mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) contours, surface observations, fronts and pressure centres (WPC, 2017)

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018), an F1 tornado touched down at 7:00 pm EDT near Paris, ON. The tornado’s path and width was not documented by ECCC. The tornado caused no fatalities and no injuries, but caused $50 thousand dollars in property damage.


NWS Weather Prediction Center Surface Analysis Archive. (2017). Surface analysis 21Z Mon May 20 1996. Retrieved from:

Environment and Climate Change Canada Data. (2018). Canadian National Tornado Database: Verified Events (1980-2009) – Public. Retrieved from: