Ontario music festival forced to briefly evacuate due to severe thunderstorm

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Attendees at an Ontario music festival were briefly told to seek shelter as a severe weather system passed through the area Saturday.

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The festival, Boots and Hearts, is being held north of Barrie, Ont., between Thursday and Sunday, with attendees set to camp at the site.

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Its headliners include Nickelback, Keith Urban and Tim McGraw. On Saturday afternoon, the festival issued a warning to festivalgoers 

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“Seek shelter inside your vehicles,” Boots and Hearts said in a post on social media, warning of severe weather.

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Provincial police echoed the warning, urging people to shelter inside vehicles or under safe structures until the weather system has passed.

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A severe thunderstorm warning posted by Environment Canada said an incoming storm could produce nickel-sized hail, heavy rain and strong winds up to 90 km/h.

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“Strong wind gusts can toss loose objects, damage weak buildings, break branches off trees and overturn large vehicles,” the warning said.

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In an update later in the afternoon, provincial police said the gates had reopened to the festival and warned of increased traffic in the area.

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The Boots and Hearts festival was also temporarily evacuated due to extreme weather in 2022.

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