On the evening of August 2, 2006, a small tornado hit Combermere, Ontario, which is about 150 km west of Ottawa. The twister
extensively damaged cottages and trailers, some of which were
completely destroyed. Hydro poles were snapped like twigs
and centuries-old trees were stripped of branches and left
in splinters. Environment Canada later rated it an F2 class
of tornado, with a path 3 km long and 300m wide. This class
of tornado has winds between 180 km and 250 km per hour.
Doug Etmanskie, of Etmanskie Logging, was at his home just
outside of Combermere that evening when the sky went black.
He remembers the tornado lasting for only a short time. "It
three, four minutes, and then everything was pitch
black," he said, explaining that power was lost throughout
When the winds died down and he went outside, there was a
strong pine scent from the numerous broken trees. People in the
area were busy all night, checking on each other and on damaged
property, but it wasn't until daylight that everyone realized
the extent of the damage. During his
10-minute drive to Combermere
the next morning, Mr. Etmanskie noticed many damaged trees,
but when he reached the town, he was startled to find how
much of it had been flattened. Broken trees and displaced
roofs littered the streets and highway. "No one could
even get out of their driveways." The logger immediately
loaded up two skidders and returned to Combermere to help
cut down and remove the debris.
Seven days into the town cleanup, Mr. Etmanskie was clearing
25 damaged pine trees behind St. Paul's Anglican Church and
the Mission House Museum (originally the church rectory).
He had cut down several with ease using his chain saw, but
suddenly, he encountered something strange. "I'm cutting
around, cutting around (the tree trunk), I got to the center
of it, and I didn't know what I hit," he said. "It
just stripped the chain off the chain saw and I couldn't cut