Increasingly severe storms in Ontario led to over $340 mil in damages in summer of 2023


Published October 16, 2023 at 10:45 am

severe weather storms tornados ontario millions of dollars in damages

With severe weather events increasing, so, too, are costly damages.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) recently announced that severe storms and flash floods in Ontario caused over $340 million in insured losses over the summer, according to initial estimates from Catastrophe Indices and Quantification Inc. 

Over $80 million (close to 25 per cent) of these insured losses was used for replacing or repairing storm-damaged vehicles.

Here’s a look at some of the most costly and catastrophic (defined as events causing over $30 million in damage) storms:

Southwestern Ontario 

July 20–21, 2023 – Over $30 million in insured damage

The IBC said a cold front that crossed southern Ontario and Quebec prompted severe thunderstorms on July 20 and 21 that produced strong winds and two tornados near South Buxton and Petrolia. The storms also brought hailstones and flooding.

“A microburst in Sarnia caused significant damage, including downed trees and power lines and damaged outdoor furniture and fences,” the release said. 

Southern Ontario

July 28–29, 2023 – Over $30 million in insured damage

Severe thunderstorms followed a spate of hot and humid weather, with multiple supercell thunderstorms developing on July 28 and 29. The strongest storms hit the Ottawa region and the area was subjected to tennis ball-sized hail. In Windsor, strong winds brought down trees. Heavy downpours in the region led to flash flooding as well. 

Southern Ontario thunderstorms

Aug. 3, 2023 – Over $100 million in insured damage

The IBC says a summertime frontal system moving through southern Ontario sparked severe thunderstorms on Aug. 3. The storms brought large hailstones, violent winds and torrential downpours. Lindsay and Ottawa were hit hard, and the storms knocked down homes under construction, downed trees and power lines and damaged vehicles–some of which were partially submerged in water. 

Ottawa flash flooding

Aug. 10, 2023 – Over $70 million in insured damage 

A cold front sparked a series of thunderstorms across the Ottawa region, subjecting the area to significant rainfall. The IBC says a swath from Nepean to Carson Grove was the hardest hit, with significant flooding reported. 

Southwestern Ontario flooding and storms

Aug. 23–25, 2023 – Over $110 million

Thunderstorms associated with Hurricane Hilary brought heavy rainfall, multiple tornados and large hailstones. The IBC says some areas experienced over 200 millimetres of rainfall, resulting in floods that impacted homes. The storms also caused power outages. 

“Ontarians once again experienced a summer of severe storms and floods that damaged or destroyed homes, vehicles and businesses,” said Amanda Dean, interim vice-president, Ontario, Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC), in a statement. 

“Flooding and severe storms can be costly, stressful and difficult for people who have been affected. As rebuilding and recovery continue, those who have been impacted can continue to work with their insurance representative. Residents who want to check that they have the coverage they need should contact their insurance representative to ensure they have the right coverage to protect their property or business from the impacts of the frequent and severe storms we are experiencing.”

According to the IBC, the frequency and severity of flooding and severe storms in Ontario and across Canada are increasing yearly. 

Damage caused by wind and rain is typically covered by standard home, commercial property and comprehensive auto insurance policies. 

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