Tornado Hits Windsor Area (VIDEO & GALLERY)

A local resident snapped a photo of a funnel cloud that formed near Victory St. in LaSalle, August 24, 2016. (Photo courtesy of Cody Crease via Twitter)

The EC Row Exwy. is open again between Jefferson Blvd. and Walker Rd. after a tornado touched down near LaSalle around 7:10pm Wednesday and headed towards Windsor.

David Vojvodin from Windsor was driving on the EC Row Expy. when he saw funnel clouds.

“It was one of those awe things of, ‘I realize this is probably a tornado and I don’t know what I should do,” says Vojvodin, speaking to after seeing the storm in action.

“Kind of a neutral calm and yet an excited feeling,” is how Vojvodin says it felt as he approached the storm.

He saw a building near the expressway and Central Ave. torn a part by the strong winds.

“Blue sparks, I guess, from when the electrical powers were shorted at the building it [reported tornado] touched down on, but all kinds of debris just floating in the air helplessly,” says Vojvodin.

It was quite the scene.

“Westbound vehicles were actually turning around heading eastbound to get away from it,” says Vojvodin, adding heavy rain added to the problems. “The vehicles seem to be hydroplaning there was that much water coming down.”

Environment Canada confirms it was a tornado did in fact touch down in LaSalle and Windsor Wednesday night.

Severe Weather Meteorologist Arnold Ashton says the storm formed with little to no warning.

“It basically formed a few feet off the marina, literally on the river, as it came ashore,” says Ashton. “It came up through LaSalle, and moved north east from there, and then sporadically across Windsor.”

An Environment Canada damage survey team will be attending Windsor and LaSalle to conduct a full investigation into the severity of the storm, says Ashton.

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens says the city’s emergency operations centre has been opened to assess the damage from the tornado and to better coordinate emergency response efforts.

The City of Windsor says four people suffered minor injuries during the storm.

At least 15 homes on Riberdy Rd. sustained significant damage. The affected residents have been able to find accommodation with family and friends, so no one has been displaced. There was also damage on Kautex Dr., Deziel Dr., and North Service Rd. Police are asking people to stay away from that area.

Enwin Utilities in Windsor is reporting that around 200 customers in the area bordered by Grand Marais, Foster, the Windsor Airport property, Jefferson, and Walker Rd. Restoration is expected to take a “significant” amount of time due to a number of broken hydro poles. As of 6:30am Thursday, only eight homes were still without power.

Power was also out at Transit Windsor’s central depot, but it has since been restored.

In LaSalle, authorities were forced to close Victory St. from Front Rd. to the 400-block of Victory St. as crews responded to the area after reports of damage. Several homes in the damage areas experienced power outages as well.

The Town of LaSalle says its emergency operations centre was not opened Wednesday night, but a command trailer was set-up in the damage area.

— With files from Kirk Dickinson