A man in his sixties is dead, after a tornado touched down in Mascouche, Que., late Monday afternoon.
The Canadian Red Cross is deploying teams to help 50 to 100 people displaced by the damage caused by the high winds.
Municipal officials have confirmed that the man, a father of three, died in storm just after 6 p.m. Between 75 and 100 homes were damaged by the tornado, according to local fire officials.
The mayor of Mascouche, Guillaume Tremblay, offered his condolences to the family of the victim, though he was unable to give more details on the cause of death. Tremblay said two others were lightly injured.
“We have houses that were blown off their foundations,” he said.
“We have electric wires everywhere in the streets and a considerable amount of fallen trees.”
WATCH: Video captured by residents shows tornadoes on the move:
Environment Canada says that, based on videos captured by people in the area, there was at least one tornado, but it is not clear how strong it was or what path it took.
A spokesperson for the Red Cross said an information kiosk will be set up in a community centre at 2510 de Mascouche Boulevard, located about 40 kilometres northeast of Montreal.
Anybody who is displaced by the tornado can expect care for the next 72 hours from the organization, including food and lodging, the spokesperson said.
The national weather agency issued a series of alerts Monday afternoon, warning of possibly severe thunderstorms, strong winds, hail, lightning and even tornadoes throughout several regions.
The warnings covered areas ranging from Montreal’s South Shore to the Quebec City region.
Environment Canada says people should take cover immediately if threatening weather approaches.
“Remember, when thunder roars, go indoors!” Environment Canada says on its website.
Storm leaves residents shaken
Videos captured in the area show wind funnels forming near homes and high-tension wires, kicking up debris. More than 50,000 customers lost power, according to Hydro-Québec.
Harold Tidy was cleaning his swimming pool and “all of a sudden, all hell broke loose.”
Having taught on the subject of hurricanes and tornadoes, Tidy said he knew exactly what it was when it hit. It lasted 15 to 20 seconds, he said, and was about 15 metres in diameter. He described it as a “mini tornado.”
“It came right down my driveway,” Tidy said. “I’ve never seen that in this region before. I’ve seen storms. We’ve been frozen out in the winter. But never a storm like this.”
The wind ripped tops off trees, and downed others — trees he planted soon after moving in with his wife more than six decades ago. He built the house in 1956 and watched those trees mature over the years, including an apple tree that produced fresh fruit every year for the family.
He hopes the insurance company will help clean up the mess, but he knows he can’t replace the trees. He said he can plant new ones “but I won’t live to see them as mature as you see them now, unfortunately.”
Hugues Jobin was in a business when the tornado passed through. He told Radio-Canada that there was damage to buildings and branches were knocked into houses.
“I was sure the store was going to fly away,” he said, but the tornado passed at an angle and missed the building. “I threw myself on the ground, I was so scared, to be sure I was safe.”
Jobin said the strong wind only seemed to last about 10 seconds before passing.
Simon Legault, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the agency is still gathering information.
“Right now, we can confirm that there has been a tornado there, but we cannot give any details about the exact location of the damage that occurred there and the length of the track or anything like that,” he said.
“So the speed of the wind, we don’t know right now, but definitely from what we saw in those videos, debris flying around, that’s a clear sign of tornado.”