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Storm front sweeps Ottawa-Montreal region

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Powerful thunderstorms crossed parts of Ontario and Quebec Friday evening. In Ottawa, a cyclist was struck by lightning in a park near Carleton University and died after being taken to hospital.

Further east in Quebec, several communities near Montreal suffered property damage but no loss of life when two tornadoes touched down there. Lucy Martin has more.

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Reported by

Lucy Martin
Ottawa Correspondent

As an intense thunderstorm swept through the Ottawa region Friday evening, 18-year-old Joel Gauthier and a fellow cyclist stopped to put on rain gear.

According to media reports, the two were sheltering under a tree in Vincent Massey Park at about 7 p.m. when lighting struck. Emergency responders found Gauthier unconscious and in cardiac arrest. He was taken to hospital but did not recover. The second cyclist was treated for numbness in her arms. The storm also damaged part of an apartment building roof in east Ottawa and caused some minor power outages.

In Quebec, meanwhile, on the same Friday evening, two low-level tornadoes struck rural areas northwest of Montreal. Environment Canada reported an F-0 tornado touched down in Brownsburg-Chatham at around 8 p.m. Winds of up to 75 miles per hour damaged a number of barns and outbuildings.

About fifteen minutes later a stronger F-1 twister damaged homes, uprooted trees and destroyed a historic church in St. Benoit de Mirabel. Damage estimates are in the millions.

The system also caused power outages that affected roughly 30,000 area residents, according to Hydro Quebec. Most of the power was restored by Saturday.

On average, Quebec experiences 6 tornadoes per summer season, generally no stronger than an F-1 on the Fujita scale, which rates tornadoes to a high of F-5.

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