Tornado batters Ottawa, 200000 without power

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Tornado batters Ottawa, 200000 without power

A tornado on Friday afternoon tore roofs off of homes, overturned cars and felled power lines in the Ottawa community of Dunrobin and in Gatineau.

Fire trucks lined streets in Gatineau, where debris and downed trees covered roads.

Meanwhile, across the river in Gatineau, Hydro Quebec said 165,000 customers were without power after Friday's storm, but that number has been widdled down to 114,000 as of 7 a.m. Saturday.

The national weather agency says a powerful EF-3 category twister - with winds that reached 265 kilometres per hour - ripped through the Ottawa neighbourhood of Dunrobin, Ont., about 35 kilometres west of the downtown area, before moving on to devastate a densely populated area of Gatineau, Que.

"Tonight I want to let the people of Ottawa know that we're all thinking of you", said Ford, who also thanked first responders and hydro crews.

Ford made the pledge Sunday after he arrived in Dunrobin, the Ottawa neighbourhood hardest hit by a pair of tornadoes that snapped power lines and levelled homes.

Help will be provided by Hydro One and Toronto Hydro, Ford told CFRA.

Some people whose homes sustained major damage have been told it will be more than a week before they can go back in to retrieve clothes and other essential items.

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Neighbours with electricity have stepped in to help feed and shelter those without.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard broke off campaigning ahead of an October 1 provincial election to travel to Gatineau.

Shawna Tregunna tweeted a photo of pancakes saying she was cooking up hot meals all day.

Individuals, small businesses and not-for-profit organizations that had property damage or loss as a result of the disaster may be eligible for the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program, the government said in a statement.

She also offered to deliver the vast buffet she prepared, and was kept busy doing so from Friday afternoon until late Saturday night.

Anthony Di Monte, general manager of the City of Ottawa's Emergency and Protective Service, said that more than 400 traffic lights continue to be out.

"A lot of us have never seen anything like it", he said of the destruction. "This is a community that has come together to create some sort of normalcy". Hydro workers have arrived from other parts of the province to help fix the electrical grid.

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