Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Four golfers hit by lightning as tornado watch lifted for parts of Ontario

Ducks swim on Queens Quay as traffic makes its way through the flooded streets following a severe rainstorm in Toronto

A state of emergency has been declared in the central Ontario community of Angus, Ont., after a tornado swept the county, tearing off roofs and ripping down trees in its path.

The tornado touched down after an afternoon of severe weather warnings in parts of Ontario, and hours after four men were hit by lightning in Stouffville.

Police in Angus closed off the hardest hit street, 5th line, where at least 30 homes were reported to have lost their roofs.

Story continues below advertisement

On a neighbouring street, uprooted trees covered Julie Eisses's friends' front yard, narrowly missing her home's living-room windows.

"That one came from across the road," she said, pointing to a toppled tree that almost reached the front door. "That's someone else's roof," she added, motioning to a large piece of wood with shingles attached.

Environment Canada's Rob Kuhn confirmed on Tuesday night it was a tornado.

In other parts of Angus, residents had only power outages, they were still shaken and in awe.

"I've never seen the lights go crazy like before; I thought I was in a disco hall," said Steve White, an employee of the local No Frills store.

"It honestly felt I could just [reach up] and touch the clouds," said Josh Kirschner, another employee.

Earlier in the day, lightning hit four men at a golf club in Stouffville, Ont.

Story continues below advertisement

Four men aged 51, 53, 56 and 60 were taken to local hospitals. One is in critical condition and the other three are stable, said York Regional Police, who responded to a call from the golf club in the late morning.

"Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a lightning bolt come down and hit behind the clubhouse here, and it just shook," said Karl Benz, who had just parked his golf cart at the clubhouse.

Mr. Benz was at the golf club for an 8:30 a.m. tee-off, and he and a few other golfers had finished about 13 holes before hearing the horns and heading indoors.

"They came out to warn us even before that to say if you hear a horn, get off the course," said Rick Adams, who was playing with Mr. Benz at the golf club and helped lift two victims into trucks to be taken indoors.

"They were conscious, but the more serious one was hurting. Hopefully he makes it," he said. "The real hero is the ICU nurse that performed CPR on him, because he wasn't breathing at the time."

Asha Singh, a realtor who drove in for the tournament from Mississauga, Ont., with her husband, was told of the lightning injuries after arriving at noon. Ms. Singh said she saw from her car what appeared to be "two straight lines of bright light that were coming down."

Story continues below advertisement

"We knew our tournament was at 1 p.m., so our people would not have been on the golf course. But that was the part that was the most scary is just driving in here to think someone you know could have been hit," Ms. Singh said.

With a report from The Canadian Press

Report an error Licensing Options
Comments

The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

We’ve made some technical updates to our commenting software. If you are experiencing any issues posting comments, simply log out and log back in.

Discussion loading… ✨