Wingham, ON F0 Tornado of May 16, 1988

Huron - Perth

Occurring at around 1:00 pm, this tornado caused no damage but was caught on camera by several witnesses, their photos showing a wispy rope in contact with the ground. The tornado was spotted by a group of school children at East Wawanosh public school, who alerted their principle. They watched as it passed about three kilometres from the school, tracking through an area of bush and forest.

Figure 1 depicts a fairly complex surface analysis in place on May 16th. A strong low pressure system is moving off into Ohio/Pennsylvania and a cold front is slicing through the Great Lakes at 2:00 pm EDT. Most likely scenario was a prefrontal, possibly lake-breeze influenced, storm developed near Lucknow, ON and tracked southeast towards Wingham, where an F0 tornado developed.

Figure 1. Surface analysis at 18Z on May 16, 1988 showing mean sea-level pressure (MSLP) contours, surface observations, fronts and pressure centres (WPC, 2017).

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada (2018), an F0 tornado touched down at 1:00 pm EDT near Wingham, ON. The track and width of the tornado was not documented by ECCC. The tornado caused no injuries, fatalities or property damage.


NWS Weather Prediction Center Surface Analysis Archive. (2017). Surface analysis 18Z Mon May 16 1988. Retrieved from:

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