Tornado – 1946
Formed: June 17, 1946 approximately 6:00 pm.
Max Rate: F4 Tornado
Damages: $9.663 million
Casualties: 17 fatalities
Areas Affected: Windsor, Ontario; La Salle, Ontario
The Windsor – Tecumseh Tornado of 1946 was the most powerful tornado, being a category F4 in strength, to ever hit Windsor, Ontario. It happened June 17th 1946. The Tornado touched down near River Rouge, Michigan, then crossed the Detroit River and made landfall in the Brighton Beach neighbourhood of Windsor. It then passed across Southern Windsor and northern Sandwich West Township, Ontario. This was the third deadliest tornado in Canadian history. Seventeen people were killed and hundreds more were injured. Approximately 400 homes were damaged or destroyed, orchards were uprooted and 15 farm buildings were smashed; people were astonished at the intensity of the tornado. Railroad boxcars were thrown off their tracks and tossed onto their sides, roofs of houses were torn off, and some houses were lifted off their foundations. Other buildings were completely destroyed.
The path of the tornado started in Brighton Beach, then went through Sandwich West (now LaSalle), crossed Malden Road, and Huron Line. It then travelled along the 3rd Concession until Howard Avenue, and then continued along Grand Marias Road to Pilette Road. There, it went eastward through Sandwich East and finally lost its destructive force in Tecumseh.
Some people who lost everything still remember it. “You don’t forget'” said Don Sigrist, whose family lost everything in the tornado. “It just seems to play in your memory over and over again.”