‘Get to the basement,’ video shows dramatic storm forming in Ilderton, Ont. before tornado warning issued
Nick Donaldson is a passionate fan of large weather events, but the storm near his Ilderton, Ont. home on Saturday afternoon may have been too close for comfort.
“Normally they fizzle out — this one didn’t fizzle out,” said Donaldson, describing the dark clouds that hovered over his community near London, Ontario. “It got bigger and bigger and bigger.”
Eventually the clouds merged and for a moment Donaldson believes he saw a tornado touch down.
However, an Environment Canada meteorologist said although the service issued a tornado warning Saturday it would would not confirm that a tornado actually touched down.
Donaldson shot the video from this front porch at 1:05 p.m. EST — before Environment Canada issued the tornado warning for the region.
“The tornado warnings came out after it had passed through Ilderton, probably a good 10 to 15 minutes after it had passed through Ilderton,” said Donaldson, who said he was tracking the storm at his home.
“I take it seriously. I don’t trust the warnings because they typically are late.”
Donaldson said that issuing weather warnings is a hard job because big weather events are “tough to predict.”
He said he believes his video captures a tornado briefly touching down. Without the video evidence, people may have thought it was just another thunderstorm, he said.
Environment Canada was recently criticized for its tornado warning system last year when a tornado touched down in Windsor.
“The warning is actually issued these days largely based on the radar signatures,” said Peter Kimbell, a warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment Canada, when asked how tornado warnings are issued.
The Environment Canada tornado warning released at 1:25 p.m. EST on Saturday notes that radar showed “rotation in a thunderstorm near Arva” a town about a ten-minute drive north of London.
“We often issue the warnings based on radar signatures because often times if you wait until a report comes in you’ve waited too long and it’s already on the ground,” Kimbell told CBC News.
Kimbell said there were reports of damage to fences and trees in the London area but “nothing yet to warrant sending out a team to investigate” reports of a touch down.
“But it certainly does look interesting,” said Kimbell.
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