Tornado batters area near Canadian capital Ottawa, damaging homes and injuring dozens

Destroyed buildings and cars are seen in Mont-Bleu, Gatineau, Quebec, close to Ottawa after a tornado shattered Canada's capital on Sept 21, 2018.
Destroyed buildings and cars are seen in Mont-Bleu, Gatineau, Quebec, close to Ottawa after a tornado shattered Canada's capital on Sept 21, 2018.PHOTO: AFP

OTTAWA (AFP) - A tornado sparked chaos near the Canadian capital Ottawa on Friday (Sept 21), injuring dozens as homes were damaged, cars flipped over, and over 130,000 people left without power, local media said.

Meteorologists reported gusts whipped up to around 190kmh, with the city of Gatineau, about 8km north of the capital, taking the brunt.

Images on social media showed homes with damaged rooftops, as debris was seen swirling through the air in video footage.

Ottawa emergency services official Anthony Di Monte told local media around 30 people were injured, five seriously.

Meanwhile, electricity company HydroQuebec reported over 130,000 customers were without power in the Ottawa area on Friday evening.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urged residents to check on neighbours who might need help.

"We're monitoring the situation and thinking of everyone affected," he said on Twitter.

A weather alert was put in place on Friday afternoon for all of southern Ontario and Quebec. Winds eased by the time they reached greater Montreal, which was hit by heavy rains but escaped major damage.