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When tornadoes strike: a Manitoba twister timeline

Introduction

A tornado usually first appears as a rotation in a huge thundercloud, often behind heavy rain or hail. The sky often turns green, yellow or black. The sound can be deafening, often described as being like the rumble of a freight train.

Tornadoes often travel from southwest to northeast. They may last only a few minutes or more than an hour, and can be nearly stationary or travel at speeds of more than 100 kilometres an hour, often leaving a trail of destruction.

If a tornado looks as if it's not moving, it may either moving straight away or straight toward you, says Environment Canada.

2013

July 21, 2013: Between the communities of Deloraine and Boissevain

Touched down in a field and did not strike any structures or injure any people.

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July 19, 2013: Sioux Valley First Nation

Five homes were hit by what residents are calling a tornado, which Environment Canada is still investigating.

CBC reporter Jill Coubrough said the roof of one home was ripped off, and the couple inside have been taken to hospital in Brandon with minor injuries, according to Dakota Police.

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July 13 (unconfirmed): Pipestone

People in the town of Pipestone, about 100 kilometres southwest of Brandon, say their community looks like a war zone, after a severe storm that likely included a tornado ripped through southwestern Manitoba yesterday evening.

Roofs were blown off buildings, mobile homes and trailers overturned, trees uprooted and power knocked out in the communities of Pipestone, Hartney and Reston when the storm hit.

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Photo Credit: Lorraine Gray

2011

August 8: Near Oak Lake

People near Oak Lake, Man., on Monday were recalling some scary moments after a tornado touched down.

Environment Canada says it happened near Highway 1, about 32 kilometres west of Brandon. "The sun just disappeared and turned dark very quickly and very scary," Rick Plaisier, the reeve of Oak Lake told CBC News.

"You hear of all the major tornado damage in North America and you think, 'Oh my goodness. Is it going to be our turn this time?'" he said.

Environment Canada says a twister did touch down for 30 seconds to a minute, but no damage was reported.

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Photo Credit: Computim

2010

July 13: Near Carman

Russell Paetkau, who saw the tornado, said it stirred around on a field for a few minutes.

"[The tornado] just hovered for about five minutes and then all of a sudden it had a little bit more of a sharper tapered cone and came straight down to the ground and sat there and swirled around for about five or 10 minutes and went back up in the air and then slowly dissipated," said Paetkau.

No damage has been reported, according to Environment Canada.

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Photo Credit: Anna Doell

2008

July 7: Lake Metigoshe

RCMP reported receiving a 911 call regarding a tornado touching down at Lake Metigoshe, near Deloraine, Man., around 2:30 p.m.

Witnesses at the scene told CBC News the twister damaged buildings, structures and boats on the west side of the lake. There have been no reports of any injuries.

"I was coming down the highway back to the resort here and we seen stuff in the air," Mike Morrison, co-owner of the Turtle Mountain Resort, which is on the lake, told CBC News.

"When I got here … I could just hear the banging, crashing of the boats, and the whole shoreline of Lake Metigoshe on the west side is totally destroyed. Rooftops are gone, and our neighbour's boat went through the air into the middle of the lake."

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2007

June 23: Elie, Carman and Portage La Prairie

Environment Canada received reports of tornadoes touching down Friday in the Carman area, in Elie, and west of Portage La Prairie.

The tornado in Elie has been rated the strongest documented twister in Canadian history.

A tornado levelled at least four homes and damaged several others. The record-setting tornado hit wind speeds of up to 510 km/h.

The twister was on the ground for more than 30 minutes, Environment Canada officials said. It travelled five kilometres and created a 300-metre swath of damage through the town of 550 people.

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Photo Credit: John Woods/CP

2006

August 5: Gull Lake

A woman was killed and three other people were injured when a tornado struck a Manitoba campground.

The twister at Gull Lake, 80 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, wrecked boats, uprooted trees and destroyed or severely damaged nearly all of the 23 trailers and cabins in the area, witnesses said.

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Photo Credit: John Woods/CP

2005

June 2: Goodlands

Manitoba was under tornado and flood watches after a day of exceptionally heavy rain and eyewitness reports of two tornadoes touching down in the province's southwestern corner Wednesday night.

Heavy rains have been pummelling the same region of the province, giving some communities more rainfall in a single day than they usually see in half a year.

"This is very, very unusual," said provincial flood forecaster Alf Warkentin. "This kind of storm is going to be, according to our statistics, a 100-year event kind of thing."

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