Canada’s Recent DERECHO was a DOOZY: The Science and Impacts of Derechos, Downbursts, and Tornados

Jun 9, 2022

I was on an island in cottage country on Saturday May 21st, 2022 when Canada’s first Derecho since 1999 passed over me like a freight train. Fortunately, there were no tornados or downbursts in my immediate vicinity, or in the vicinity of my house in Ottawa.

It was not forecast in advance; there was no inkling that it was coming.

The derecho (straight line winds reaching hurricane strength) toppled trees and caused much damage in a swath extending from the U.S. border near Windsor all the way through the most heavily populated parts of Canada (in southern Ontario and Quebec) to the New England state of Maine.

It hit Sarnia, Ontario at 9:30 am and passed through most major cities in southern Ontario and Quebec before reaching Quebec City at 6:30 pm, traversing a distance of nearly 1000 km (620 miles) in 9 hours, giving an average forward speed of 110 kph (basically Category 1 hurricane wind speeds).

An EF-2 tornado was spun off the derecho in the town of Uxbridge, ON damaging many houses and trees. Downbursts were generated in numerous locations along the derecho path, and one that hit west Ottawa toppled four steel transmission line towers. To topple these towers, the downburst winds reached an estimated speed of 180 to 190 kph.

In this video I examine in detail this Canadian extreme weather event that impacted millions of people on Saturday May 21st (about 900,000 homes lost power, 150,000 in Ottawa alone). Power was out for several weeks for many people in Ottawa, and in rural regions.

Please donate here to support my research and videos as I join the dots on abrupt climate system change, and teach you what I know about the latest science in easily understood lay-person language. I truly believe that much joy in life comes from continuous learning and teaching, and I am sure that I learn as much from researching, studying, and filming these videos as you may learn from watching them.
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About paulbeckwith

Well known climate science educator; Part-time Geography professor (climatology, oceanography, environmental issues), University of Ottawa. Physicist. Engineer. Master's Degree in Science in Laser Optics, Bachelors of Engineering, in Engineering Physics. Won Association of Professional Engineers of Ontario gold medal. Also interested in investment and start-ups in climate solutions, renewable energy and energy efficiency. Avid chess player, and likes restoring old homes. Married with children.
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