EF2 tornado leaves swath of decimated forest & damaged cottages NE of Huntsville
This tornado was the strongest and final of three that sliced through the Muskoka Region during the afternoon of August 4. It touched down at around 4:10pm near Pell Lake, then travelled to the northeast for 9 kilometres. It crossed Highway 8 at Hutcheson Road, chewing through the dense forest as it went. Trees were snapped, uprooted, shorn off at their tops and thrown as the tornado oscillated in width between 100 and 200 metres. The devastation through the forest was immense, with entire tracts levelled. However the tornado was saving it’s most significant human-impacts for the cottages along the shores of Rebecca and Bella lakes.
First the tornado whipped through cottages off of Sunset Farm Trail and Mansell Road on the southwest side of Rebecca Lake. It crossed the water quickly and then ravaged more cottages on the opposite shoreline as it moved inland again along Fairdale Road. A short stretch of forest damage ensued before the tornado reached the eastern tip of Bella Lake. It tore through a row of cottages along Carl Fisher Drive, then crossed the water and made landfall again on the lake’s northeast shore. From there the tornado continued through the forest before it dissipated near Dotty Lake.
Damage across the lakes was devastating. Old-growth forest was levelled and cottages were left buried or crushed by the massive falling trees. In addition, windows were shattered, roofs were torn, sheds destroyed and boats hurled for tens of metres. Had the dense forest of the properties not borne the brunt of the tornado’s winds, it’s likely that the cottages would have been more severely damaged or swept away entirely. Nevertheless, the damage across the lakes was massive and the fact that there were no casualties was remarkable.
#onstorm 3:56p TORNADO WARNING ISSUED
Updated or ended by 5:14PM.
At 3:56PM, EC meteorologists are tracking a…https://t.co/AqjWaRX9V3
— OntarioTornadoWatch (@ontariotornado) August 4, 2017
@CBCAlerts touchdown point at Rebecca lake, Huntsville. Tornado ripped through forest, uprooting trees. pic.twitter.com/n05RXFMT6Q
— Ryan McNeill (@gunner_mcneill) August 5, 2017
Aerial photo of storm path near Bella Lake courtesy Ray Jarvis #onstorm #Muskoka pic.twitter.com/SYkQGwefft
— Cindy Burgess (@cindyburgess) August 5, 2017
Possible Tornado damage to several cottages on Rebecca Lake in Muskoka/ Lake of Bays. @environmentca to survey damages tomorrow #onstorm pic.twitter.com/iMnyHcdRGH
— Andrew Collins (@ACollinsPhoto) August 5, 2017
Video: Isolated #onstorm damage off Rebecca Lake in Muskoka (Lake of Bays Township). @environmentca will determine if a tornado hit. pic.twitter.com/6mAGRQQOTh
— Jeremy Cohn (@JeremyGlobalTV) August 5, 2017
One resident’s deck was destroyed in Lake of Bays but his cottage was untouched. @CBCToronto pic.twitter.com/Q4U7O5W2uD
— Talia Ricci (@TalRicci) August 7, 2017
This was the second tornado near Huntsville on the evening of August 4; the first was an EF1 that caused considerable damage on the south side of town.
The other two tornadoes that struck this day included an EF1 tornado at Utterson and an EF1 tornado at Huntsville.