At this time, the storm in Sioux Lookout Wednesday evening is being classified as a downburst event. A downburst is an area of very powerful winds that are produced by thunderstorms.
Wind gusts at the Sioux Lookout Airport peaked out at 111 km/h, with low-level winds being estimated at 125 hm/h by Dryden doppler radar.
"Low-level winds are basically winds in the lowest 100 or 200 metres of the atmosphere," explains Environment Canada Meteorologist Geoff Coulson. "When these storms go through, it's possible to mix down to the surface. The radar is giving us a sense of the potentially strongest wind gusts that some of these storms may have.
Whether or not a tornado struck the area is still being investigated. Coulson says Environment Canada is still gathering information and noted their colleagues at the Northern Tornados Project at Western University will be using high-resolution satellite imagery to help determine if a tornado or downburst hit the area.
"What they will be able to do is take a look at the area in and around Sioux Lookout before the storm hit on Wednesday evening and then take a look at imagery from after the storm. What this high-resolution imagery can sometimes show is tree damage that's occurred because of the storm," noted Coulson.
If the damage path tends to be a relatively broad number of kilometers across with trees knocked over in the same direction this would suggest the area was hit by a downburst.
If the damage track is much more narrow and long with the damage along the track being in many directions that would suggest a tornado touched down.
"We're still looking to learn more about this particular event, but it is important to note that whether it was a downburst or a tornado, it was still a very significant and dangerous storm," stressed Coulson.
Environment Canada is looking for pictures, videos, and testimonials from residents that experienced the storm. You can send your content to firstname.lastname@example.org.