Stay safe out there

Environment Canada has now confirmed that an EF-2 tornado touched down in Kinmount about 4:50 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2.

While there is a certain romance with the weather phenomena, spurred by movies such as Twister, seeing the destruction left by a tornado is not for the faint of heart.

An EF-2 tornado – in this case winds up to 190 km/h, does “considerable” damage. By contrast, an EF-1 does “moderate” damage, an EF-3 “severe” damage and an EF-4 “devastating” damage.

With a swathe of snapped trees and Hydro poles, and some damage to structures, this tornado packed a wallop.

For some residents of Kinmount, it wasn’t the first time they’d experienced a twister, either. It was 14 years ago to the day that a tornado touched down in the town. Minden, West Guilford and Drag Lake, near Haliburton, were also hit that 2006 day.

A Kinmount Gazette article from August 2010 reported that Kinmount tornado was an F0, on the former scale, meaning it mostly affected farmland. In fact, it took out a lot of old barns on the 11th line of Somerville and on the Galway and Crystal Lake roads. A seemingly random pattern of destruction downed trees. There were no true funnel clouds, just strong winds. Power lines and Bell lines were downed. County Road 121 was closed then, too, due to debris and downed power lines blocking the road.

Residents of Bobcaygeon Road indicated they’d been there, done that, before this past weekend. While the fallen trees, seemingly laying everywhere, made it look like a war zone, there was a response that is so typical of county folk.

On Monday, there were people everywhere. There were chainsaws and log splitters. There were chipper trailers. It was obvious that neighbours had come out to help neighbours. Friends had rallied to the cause. Acquaintances were on the ground, willing and able to assist.

Just as some people in this region respond when a moose or deer is struck by a vehicle to ensure the animal is removed and properly prepared for food, people swarmed to help the residents of Kinmount not only clear their land, but put in the firewood for many winter seasons to come.

Families had driven from the Greater Toronto Area to lend a hand. The Hydro trucks were out in force on a holiday Monday, with crews from Newmarket and beyond.

Perhaps residents were somewhat in shock, but there was a no-nonsense approach to getting the job done. They also readily stepped in to assist those Hydro One crews to remove trees from roads so they were soon passable.

We’ve now had a couple of tornado watches and warnings this summer. There’s sure to be more before August is out. If the Kinmount experience is anything to go by, people have to have a plan when the warning reverberates on their phone. Most of the people we talked to in Kinmount headed for the basement. If you haven’t already, we urge you to have a plan in preparation for bad summer storms that have the potential to become tornadoes. Make sure you have a safe place to go and ensure it has food and water and other essentials because once the storm leaves you are likely to be without power and water for a few days, if not longer.

In other words, stay safe out there.

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