Three tornadoes caused Leamington-area destruction

Nancy Whittle’s Mini was crushed by a fallen tree.

Environment Canada has confirmed it was three tornadoes — not one — that wreaked havoc in southern Essex County during the early morning hours of June 6. The first, rated an F1 on the Fujita scale, touched down near Harrow, Ont., while the second and third — an F2 and F1 — tore through southern sections of Leamington.

When I visited the community a few days after the severe weather struck, cleanup crews were still in high gear, clearing debris from streets and yards. The destruction was at its worst along Highway 18 just west of Sherk Street, where houses were splintered and greenhouses shattered. Seacliff Park, near the pier, lost many of its stately trees. In the Cherry Lane subdivision, where my wife and I once lived, large trees where split, shredded or uprooted, while many younger trees seemed to survive unscathed. A little farther east, tree damage was heavy at the Erie Shores Golf and Country Club, while greenhouses and barns were twisted or flattened on farms.

Despite the millions of dollars worth of destruction, however, not a single life was lost. That became the focus of a column I wrote for Sun Media later in the week.

Homes along the north shore of Lake Erie took the brunt of the F2 tornado’s destructive power.

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