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The Tornado Incident in Southern Ontario Coursework

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Updated: Sep 20th, 2022

The Tornado incident that occurred in Southern Ontario in 2009 is described as a sequence of various rigorous thunderstorms that led to a chain of many tornadoes leading to the South West regions of Ontario, the Greater part of Toronto and also Central Ontario. August 20Th of 2009 led to the devastation of Ontario as it was the biggest tornado to ever last a single day. The tornado is also considered as the biggest to have ever hit Ontario in the history of Canadian tornados. There was a total touchdown of 19 tornadoes which accounts for much more than what the region would typically experience in a period of a year. Four of such tornadoes would typically result in at least an F2 damage range (Vaughan Weather).

The total number of rainstorms linked to this particular period is far more than the tornado that occurred in August of 2006. In addition to this, the hurricane caused the greatest harm that cost the province more than it had in the past. The effects of this tornado comprised one death. This situation is claimed to be a rare occurrence out of the many mild tornadoes that have occurred in the recent past (Vaughan Weather).

At one particular point, a total of more than 10 million inhabitants of Ontario were forcefully put either under warnings or tornado alerts. This included inhabitants of the city of Toronto who had to be warned of the storms that were rolling through the city. Consequently, the storm resulted in a need to review the warning systems and also the responses of tornadoes within Toronto and Ontario.

Weather conditions that may have led to the tornado

According to environment based societies in Canada, it was established that a tornado of magnitude F2 occurred, accompanied with winds of speeds ranging between 181 to 253 kilometres an hour strong. Moreover, it was observed that there was an average pathway that had the width of between 50 and one hundred metres bearing a track length almost 3.8 kilometres long (Vaughan Weather).

Development of the Ontario tornado
Diagram 1: Development of the Ontario tornado

Storm Timeline

The afternoon of the occurrence of the tornado was marked by big spell of thunderstorms that developed above the Southeast region of Michigan towards the Southwest region of Ontario. At about 3pm, the rainstorm swiftly became stronger and an intense film formed around the southern region of Lake Huron initiating a storm that found its way into Ontario. Later on, the storm found its way into parts of Huron and the Grey County before proceeding to the Durham region.


At the first touchdown of the tornado at 14 kilometres down southwest of the urban settlement the rainstorm proceeded to grow to an intensity of F2 in grade. The tornado weakened and moved towards rural regions before striking the town of Markdale. In this town, fifty homes were damaged in addition to a number of trees. In total, the tornado covered a path that was 36 km long. The next tornado hit Thornbury, a town situated along the Georgian Bay shore. It then proceeded to the south, where it went through Blue Mountain and later to Clarksburg. The tornado finally moved out above the water. More cells intensely formed ahead as the storm moved eastward.

Role of Home Insurers

Just like the case of many segments in the financial system of Canada, the property and casualty insurance business is regulated both provincially and federally. Insurers who are federally integrated under property and victim insurance make up about 75% of the entire premium volume share (Coopers & Lybrand 9). The casualty and home industry is highly competitive in Canada and consists of about 230 companies that are largely foreign based. In addition, these firms employ a total of 100,000 people and more in Canada. These insurance companies ensure that homeowners have a starting point in the event a natural calamity takes place. In addition, these companies insure homes against other events that may put home owners at risk (Insurance Bureau of Canada 6).

Tyres Made of Rubber

Wheels have a metallic part that acts as a ‘faraday cage’ allowing lightning to go through particular surfaces of the car. This occurs before getting to contact with the ground after jumping and surpassing the tires. This condition takes place after the lightning has passed the metallic wheels of the automobile. This makes automobiles a safer place to find safety in the event of a lightning. However, rubber tires do not have the capacity to protect one from lightning (Atlantic Lightning Protection).


Atlantic Lightning Protection. “The flash of light that accompanies a high-tension natural electric discharge in the atmosphere.” AtlanticLightning Protection (2010). Web.

Coopers and Lybrand. “The Property/Casualty Insurance Industry,” Paper Prepared for the Task Force on the Future of the Canadian Financial Services Sector, 1998, p. 9.

Insurance Bureau of Canada. ‘Facts of the General Insurance Industry in Canada,’ 2002, p. 6

Vaughan Weather. “AUGUST 20th 2009-WOODBRIDGE TORNADO.” Vaughan Weather (2009). Web.

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