Barrie tornado damage estimate jumps to $100 million

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The estimated insured damage of the EF-2 tornado that hit Barrie has surpassed $100 million and supply chain issues are slowing repairs.

Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. (CatIQ) increased the damage estimate from an earlier $75 million estimate.  On the same day damage was reported from twisters in Innisfil, Kawartha Lakes, Little Britain, Manilla, Lindsay, and Lake of Bays.

Environment Canada has said that the damage path of the tornado that hit Barrie was about five kilometres long and up to 100 metres wide, with maximum wind speeds of 210 kilometres per hour.

A south-Barrie neighbourhood saw the most damage, with 71 uninhabitable homes and more than 2,200 insurance claims filed for damage to personal and commercial property.

The insurance bureau’s Ontario vice-president, Kim Donaldson, said in a statement that there had been “some delays due to supply chain shortages caused by the pandemic” in sorting claims and asked policyholders for “patience.”

“Insurers have been in the community since day one, working hard to help their clients throughout the entire claims process, and will continue to work with policyholders,” Donaldson said.

In a news release, the City of Barrie said that while things “went well,” there are “areas for improvement.”

The city’s Emergency Control Group is working on a plan to improve disaster responses.

“One theme that was consistent with most of the feedback was how quickly the city responded,” the release stated.

Positive feedback focused on the quick decision to create a virtual emergency operations centre, setting up an onsite trailer at a local school for residents, and the site cleanup efforts.

“While the consensus is that we managed the incident effectively, there are still areas we could further refine,” Mayor Jeff Lehman said.

In Barrie, 11 people were taken to the hospital with injuries two of them were admitted, but were released that weekend.

The city contends that an event of this size and scope will always provide opportunities for improvement.

“An incident site this large creates a lot of site-control and communications challenges. While the consensus is we managed the incident effectively, there are still areas we could further refine. One of the outcomes is the development of a detailed severe weather plan specific to weather events that could happen in Barrie.”

The Emergency Control Group includes representatives of senior staff, the Fire Chief, the Barrie Police Chief and representatives from the Barrie fire department.

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