The Fierce Reeces Corners Tornado

Violent tornado blasts 30km through Lambton County, Reeces Corners left in ruins

Just before 1:00pm, this particularly strong tornado touched down about 15km southeast of Sarnia in the farming crossroads of Osborne. Almost immediately after forming it attained characteristics of a strong tornado. The large cone-shaped vortex blasted across Lasalle Line destroying barns, ripping off half a house, and snapping trees.

Continuing northeast into Plympton Township Municipality, it clipped another dwelling on Mandaumin Road, causing structural roof damage to a house and wrecking a barn.

Between Lasalle Line and Churchill Line, the tornado wrecked 4 hydro towers and cut power to the Sarnia area. More hydro poles were snapped off along Churchill Line and Fairweather road as the tornado severely damaged several farms there.

Surging in strength, the tornado engulfed the area near the intersection of Confederation Line and Camlachie Road. Attaining violent characteristics, it destroyed 2 houses, wrecked barns, and left the farm properties it struck in complete shambles.

Approaching from the southwest, the tornado was witnessed by a number of people in Reeses Corners, at the intersection of Highways 21 and 7. It appeared briefly as a menacing forked tongue, with two vortices present.

In less than a minute, it arrived at the village with ferocious strength, severely damaging several homes and businesses. One of the worst hit was a house on London Line which had most of its upper story destroyed. Others sustained mostly severe roof damage and buckled walls. Damage to hydro and telephone infrastructure was heavy as well, with numerous poles snapped and strewn about and a telephone booth hurled from its base. Vehicles were also thrown, in one case a car was hurled and found wrapped around a pole.

Several people sustained injuries here, most being minor, but a few needing medical assistance. The majority gathered in bathrooms, basements and other safe places as the tornado roared like multiple freight trains overhead.

Northeast of Reeces Corners, the tornado ripped through an orchard and bush lots adjacent to the then 5-year old highway 402. Crossing the highway, it left a long mess of crippled trees and strewn debris.

On the north side of the 402, the vortex passed just west of the intersection of Michigan Line and Uttoxeter Road. Here, it destroyed two houses, sheds, a garage and farm outbuildings on two different properties.

Crossing Egremont and Brush Roads the tornado narrowly missed a few farmsteads, passing within only a couple hundred meters of each.

Unfortunately, farmsteads were in the tornado’s path around the intersections of Fisher Line and Brickyard Line at Forest Road. There, a house was demolished, another severely damaged, as well as barns and sheds nearby which were destroyed. Power lines, broken and uprooted trees were spread across the roads and properties lining them.

At Chalk Line and Elarton Road, homes were luckily just off the tornado’s course, however, several hydro poles and trees were struck down by it’s tremendous force. This was the case for the remaining 7.5km of its path as it passed over Birnam Line, Warwick Village Road, First School Road, Bethel Road, and Hickory Creek Line.

Between Hickory Creek Line and Townsend Line the tornado lifted off, almost as quickly as it had formed, 30km to the southwest, and leaving millions of dollars of damage in its wake. Miraculously not one person was killed.