PDA

View Full Version : 08/07/79 violent tornado outbreak - Bruce, Grey, Dufferin and Simcoe counties


Derecho
03-19-2010, 03:53 PM
During the morning of August 7, 1979 a cold front stalled across Georgian Bay and severe thunderstorms quickly developed producing several weak tornadoes across Bruce, Grey, Dufferin and Simcoe counties. CP24 in Toronto(which had a different name at the time) began following the storm system issuing updates and relaying weather bureau information to many in southwest Ontario throughout the entire day.

As the day progressed the front began its southeastward trend and a supercell developed near Stratford and produced an F3 tornado around 6pm. The tornado quickly dissipated, but formed again at 618pm and quickly intensified into a kilometre wide F4 tornado near Hickson in Oxford County. The tornado tore up farms and outbuildings eventually dissipating near Bright south of Cambridge.

Close to 7pm that evening another supercell developed about 10km northwest of Woodstock and quickly produced a tornado near Embro. This tornado intensified into a kilometre wide black wedge tornado and pushed into southern portions of Woodstock just after 7pm quickly leveling entire subdivisions and stripping trees of their bark. Straw and other flimsy long items were jammed into walls and there were instances of long steel poles lodging themselves half in and out of peoples homes.

The tornado continued southeast and completely took out the town of Oxford Centre and also severely damaged most of Vanessa and New Durham. The tornado dissipated after 8pm over southeast Norfolk County and all remaining thunderstorms in Ontario had moved into the USA by 930pm.

The Woodstock tornado in some cases left only the empty foundations of houses. As it crossed the 401 it picked up cars and transport trucks and tossed them around like toys. The Oxford Centre 100 yr old Town Hall was completely destroyed and a cathedral near Vanessa sought a similar fate.

Government response was immediate and by the following day relief workers with religious groups and volunteers were descending on the affected areas to help in any way they could. Local residents set up food stations and the relief workers stood in long lines at farmsteads or homes for breakfast, lunch and supper as the locals were kind enough to supply food stocks they had. According to the London Free Press, most meals consisted of soup.

Aftermath:
1,000 left homeless
350 homes completely destroyed
2 fatalities
150 injuries

My sources of information for this tornado outbreak: CP24, Environment Canada and the London Free Press. All photos provided by the London Free Press.

DarkSky
03-19-2010, 05:27 PM
.. and thank you VERY much for posting the source of the info! That's very important that people include the source of their text/photos/etc whenever copy/pasting from something they didn't create themselves. Thanks.

Derecho
03-19-2010, 05:53 PM
.. and thank you VERY much for posting the source of the info! That's very important that people include the source of their text/photos/etc whenever copy/pasting from something they didn't create themselves. Thanks.

No problem. I notice you changed the title of the thread, but I changed it just now to include the other counties that were affected that day. I hope you don't mind.

I just dug out my picture book detailing the damage from August 7, 1979. My scanner broke years ago, so I'm taking pictures of the pages.:cool:

SlideShowBob
03-26-2010, 11:59 AM
I have the very same book from the London Free Press. This particular storm really tweaked my interest in storms. I remember living just south of the airport in Toronto, where the weather office watched a funnel cloud form that afternoon.
My youngest son was born on August 7th as well...lol
Just a quick observation...you mention CP24 as a source of info...I believe they were called City TV at the time...a small telelvision station on Queen St. East.

Derecho
03-26-2010, 12:04 PM
I have the very same book from the London Free Press. This particular storm really tweaked my interest in storms. I remember living just south of the airport in Toronto, where the weather office watched a funnel cloud form that afternoon.
My youngest son was born on August 7th as well...lol
Just a quick observation...you mention CP24 as a source of info...I believe they were called City TV at the time...a small telelvision station on Queen St. East.

I found the book at a garage sale in the late 90s. Tweaked my severe wx interest as well. Was it CityTV? No... City Pulse! I used to watch Rewind on CP24 when they would play tapes from the 70s and 80s news broadcast. One of Rewind episodes was from the day of the Woodstock tornado. I took a few notes on it, it was very neat. The weather map was just a map of southern Ontario and the meteorologist(who was a beautiful blonde lady with a Farrah Fawcett hairdo) put cutouts of lightning, rain and a tornado on the map.

I also saw another episode of Rewind that dealt with a tornado tearing up Scarborough in the early 80s.

Derecho
08-01-2012, 07:41 PM
The 7th will mark the 33rd anniversary of the tornadoes