Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Police tape guards against fallen power lines after a large tree branch fell in a west-end Toronto neighbourhood Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy)

A tornado damaged cars in Gatineau, Que., and houses in a community west of Ottawa on Friday afternoon as much of southern Ontario saw severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts, Environment Canada said.

Peter Kimbell, a meteorologist with the national weather agency, said the tornado overturned cars on Highway 50 in Gatineau and caused extensive damage to houses in Dunrobin.

Fire trucks lined streets in Gatineau, where debris and downed trees covered roads. Massive billboards were also overturned by the Sabourin arena.

Kimbell said tornado warnings were still in effect in the Ontario communities of Prescott and Russell. A line of thunderstorms running from west of Ottawa and into Gatineau were expected to continue for several hours, he added.

“The worst, I think, is over, but there is the potential for more,” Kimbell said of the Ottawa region.

Meanwhile, the Greater Toronto Area saw wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour, he said. About 11,000 residents in the area were without power Friday because of the storm.

Hydro Toronto said on Twitter that more than 5,000 customers were without power and restoration efforts were expected to last into Saturday.

“We have all available crews out in the field,” the utility company said. ”They’re working in dangerous conditions and, at times, are not able to start repairs until the wind weakens.”

Alectra Utilities, which covers most of the GTA, said more than 6,000 residents were without power.

The Canadian Press

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