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Thunderstorms wreak havoc in Ontario, Quebec, killing 2 people

At the start of the May long weekend, a massive thunderstorm in southern Ontario brought strong gusts of wind that toppled trees, knocked out power and killed at least two people.

Shortly after the storms hit, police departments in the Greater Toronto Area reported multiple power outages, downed trees and traffic issues.

In Brampton, Ont., Peel Regional Police reported a large tree struck a woman walking in the storm around 1:30 p.m. EDT. The woman was taken to a local hospital where she later died.

Ontario Provincial Police also reported that shortly before 12:30 p.m. EDT, three people were taken to hospital after a tree fell on a camping trailer in the Pinehurst Lake Conservation Area near Cambridge, Ontario. One of the people died from serious life-threatening injuries while the other two suffered minor injuries, police said.

Environment Canada had warned that strong gusts of wind could blow at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour and that residents could expect large hail the size of a nickel to a dollar to fall in some regions.

“Large hail can damage property and cause injury. Strong gusts of wind can throw objects, damage weak buildings, snap tree limbs and overturn large vehicles,” the agency said.

In a series of public weather alerts issued on Saturday, Environment Canada warned that weather conditions were “favorable to the development of severe thunderstorms” in those areas, including the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa and Montreal.

Environment Canada said southern Ontario and Quebec are expected to receive heavy rain with high humidity levels over the weekend. Because of these conditions, the agency said it could not rule out the possibility of tornadoes in some areas.

After the storms subsided in the Golden Horseshoe, the torrent of rain, wind and thunder headed east toward Ottawa and southern Quebec. Both Hydro Quebec and Hydro Ottawa reported outages affecting more than 100,000 customers.

Environment Canada recommends taking shelter “immediately” if threatening weather conditions are approaching.

“Remember, severe thunderstorms can produce tornadoes. Lightning kills and injures Canadians every year. Remember, when thunder rolls, come indoors,” the agency said.

Severe weather is forecast to move northeast across parts of southern Ontario and Quebec from Michigan, where a tornado killed two people and injured 40 others on Friday.

With files from CTV News Toronto.

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