Thunderstorm rips off part of airport roof in Thunder Bay
(A thunderstorm blew off part of the roof of the Thunder Bay International Airport Wednesday evening. TANYA TALAGA/TORONTO STAR)
Part of the Thunder Bay International Airport’s roof was torn clean off after a bout of thunderstorms hit the area Wednesday night.
No one was injured as a result of the incident, but several cars were damaged.
Staff. Sgt. Sharon Komar with Thunder Bay police said flights were still able to land despite the mishap, but vehicle traffic on the ground was affected slightly due to debris in the parking lot.
Some power lines were down as well, but it is unknown how many people were left without power.
The thunderstorms came in from the west ahead of a cold front. When the storms hit the hot, humid air, they “raced off,” explained Rob Kuhn, a severe weather meteorologist with the Ontario Storm Prediction Centre at Environment Canada.
The storm, which included torrential downpours and intense lightning, also knocked down a tree and a fence in the area, Kuhn said. The damage occurred around 9 p.m.
Kuhn said the cold front was the trigger for the storm. The hot and stable air in the east is what kept the storm going, and the cold front acts as a push for the storm, he explained. Thunder Bay is cooling off as a result, with its humidex advisory “long gone.”
He said this kind of severe weather tends to happen quite often in the spring, summer and fall, when warm, humid and unstable air is provoked by colder air.
Meanwhile, in the GTA, it’s because of the lack of cold front anywhere near us that we haven’t been experiencing heat lightning or storms of any sort, which often go hand-in-hand with hot, humid weather like we’ve been having.
“There’s no trigger,” Kuhn said. “There’s little or nothing at all, nothing strong enough around to try and force a thunderstorm to develop.”
He said for now, we’re stuck in the extreme heat, as all of the cold fronts are further north.
After Thursday’s heat, what’s left of the cold front from the prairies will pass through. Kuhn said there may be slight relief Friday, but it will still be hot and humid. While most people won’t notice much of a change, others might find it slightly easier to breathe.
— Sarah Ratchford, Staff Reporter