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Monday, August 22, 2011

Cleaning Up After Tornado

Goderich | by Bayshore News Staff  

Premier to visit Goderich as residents clean up, stay away from devastated downtown.

Officials in Goderich are emphasizing to residents to continue to stay away from the Square while crews assess the damage from Sunday's devastating tornado.

Many downtown buildings are badly damaged, vehicles were flipped like they were toys, trees uprooted and power lines ripped down after yesterday's storm.

Mayor Deb Shewfelt says it's important to let emergency services continue to do their jobs without interruption.

He says a state of emergency will remain in effect.

The Knights of Columbus Hall on Parsons Court continues to be a makeshift shelter for residents who can not get home -- and the main staging area for information from officials and police.

Shewfelt says they have food and drinks for people who are shut out from their homes and they'll remain open for anyone in need.

A news conference will be held around 3 PM to 4 PM at the Columbus Centre where officials will update residents and media on the situation.

CAO Larry McCabe tells Bayshore Broadcasting News about 25 per cent of the town has hydro restored, mostly in the south end.

He says there's no word yet on when residents and business owners will be allowed back to their homes and workplaces.

Premier Dalton McGuinty will tour the damage in Goderich around 4:15 PM Monday.

The Premier has already activated the provinces emergency plan for communities struck by disaster.

McGuinty speaks highly of Goderich and says they want to make sure everyone is safe first, then focus on the hydro and gas issues before setting out a long-term plan to rebuild.

Environment Canada meanwhile says Goderich was given enough time to prepare for Sunday's tornado that killed one person and left dozens injured.

Senior climatologist David Phillip says the town was put under a tornado warning 12 minutes before the storm hit.

He says warnings are usually issued between 10 and 15 minutes before an extreme weather event.

He says Environment Canada issues its warnings through a variety of systems, adding people are most likely to receive the information through mobile applications.

Phillips says people who learn of a weather warning should immediately take shelter in a low-lying area and be careful to make sure their heads and necks are covered.

Sunday's storm brought winds of up to 300 kilometres an hour that levelled businesses, historic buildings and churches.

The storm claimed the life of 61 year old Normand Laberge of Lucknow.

He was working in the town's salt mine when the storm hit at 3:50 PM on Sunday.

View photos of storm damage in our photo gallery: click here.


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