Officials confirmed on Sunday night that a tornado tore through Goderich, Ont. claiming one life and heavily damaging the southern Ontario town three hours west of Toronto.

Sixty-one-year-old Norman Laberge of Lucknow was killed while working at Sifto Salt, 37 others were injured.

At least 150 businesses were impacted, and officials have declared a state of emergency.

Environment Canada reported that the tornado caused winds of up to 240 kilometres an hour to pass through the town perched on the shores of Lake Huron on Sunday afternoon.

The OPP have blocked a major highway to prevent traffic from entering the town.

Roofs were torn off of businesses, century old buildings and several churches downtown after the powerful storm ripped through Goderich at about 4 p.m. Some buildings even lost upper floors.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty tweeted his condolences on Sunday.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Goderich. We will support the recovery and rebuilding of one of Ontario's prettiest towns," the tweet said.

Environment Canada issued a tornado warning for the area just before the storm hit. The agency will be sending out a damage team to investigate on Monday.

Several other communities were affected by heavy storms, Environment Canada said. There was flooding in Toronto, large hail reported in Stratford, Ont. and several trees down in Gananoque, Ont.

With files from The Canadian Press