Clifford, ON (DONE)

Early-season tornado strikes rural properties, damages & destroys farm buildings

The EF1 tornado near Clifford, Ontario. This rare, early-season tornado touched down 7km northeast of Clifford in northern Wellington County at about 3:50pm. Its path was 3.5km long and 200m wide, along which trees were downed, barns were damaged and sheds destroyed. In addition, one farmhouse had windows shattered and suffered minor damage to its roof. A pair of farms near the intersection of Minto Normandy Town Line and Ayton Road were particularly hard hit.



At one of the more extensively damaged farms, the top was blown off of a silo, a machine shed was torn apart, and a large corner section of a well-constructed barn was ripped off leaving a gaping hole through the structure. Debris from the damaged and destroyed buildings was carried for hundreds of metres, strewn through fields and left hanging from telephone wires. In addition, the owner of the farm reported that every tree on the property was damaged; many were uprooted and snapped, while others left standing had branches twisted and torn.

At the next farm over, three large cylindrical grain bins were destroyed. The bins were well constructed and bolted into cement pads, but were torn from the foundation and tossed 200m across the property. One of them came to rest atop the remains of a large equipment shed that had been demolished.

The meteorological conditions on the day of the tornado were not particularly conducive to severe weather; surface temperatures were cool, there was very little instability and shear was not overly impressive. Indeed, the tornado developed as the result of a mesoscale accident. As an isolated but non-severe thunderstorm cell was overtaken by an approaching line of storms, the interaction led to the spin up. The circulation that resulted from the merger was brief, but strong enough to produce the tornado.


According to the Tornadoes In Ontario interactive map and database, since 1985 this is the only tornado to touch down in the province during the month of March, and it is also Ontario’ earliest tornado on record. This historic, winter-season tornado is a truly exceptional event.