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Fierce Ont. storm may have produced tornado

A tree downed by high winds in Hamilton, June 8, 2011. CITYNEWS.

Thousands of homes and businesses were without power Wednesday after a violent thunderstorm tore through southern Ontario overnight.

After Environment Canada issued a tornado warning around 1:30 a.m., Emergency Management Ontario briefly placed Hamilton under a “red alert” and warned residents to take shelter.

Heavy rain and 90-km/h winds brought down trees and power lines as the storm moved from Kinkardine to the Niagara region.

In the storm’s wake, the country’s weather agency planned to check for signs of a tornado in the city and will also follow up on reports of funnel clouds touching down in Kincardine and Walkerton.

Hydro One says nearly 24,000 customers were without electricity on Wednesday.

The rest of the GTA was under a severe thunderstorm warning overnight.

Tornado safety tips (Canadian Red Cross)

With files from the Canadian Press