A storm that hammered southern Manitoba Monday night brought winds up to 101 kilometres an hour, toppling trees and semi-trailers, filling the air with dust, and knocking out power to a handful of communities.

The winds were so strong, they prompted several calls to Environment Canada of possible tornado sightings in areas like Plum Coulee, Elie and West St. Paul.

Environment Canada meteorologist Mike McDonald said there likely wasn't any tornadoes, though it could certainly have appeared that way.

Strong winds

Strength of winds in some Manitoba communities, as recorded by Environment Canada:

  • 101 km/h in Sperling
  • 92 km/h in Elm Creek
  • 91 km/h in Carman
  • 91 km/h in Starbuck
  • 90 km/h in East St. Paul
  • 85 km/h in Winnipeg

It was more likely straight-line winds — as opposed to rotating winds — that are part of a sudden downburst from a thunderstorm. They would have stirred up dust and reduced visibility to almost zero.

McDonald said crews will be heading to those areas where the tornado reports came from, just to check.

Manitoba Hydro said power was knocked out to a number of areas, including Lorette, Ile des Chenes, Steinbach, Carman, Selkirk, and Portage la Prairie.

Sections of Winnipeg were also left in the dark, albeit temporarily, including the Winnipeg airport.

Power has been restored in most places, but some communities north of Portage, such as St. Ambroise, remained without electricity for hours.

Farmer fears lost crops

Monday night's storm could have serious repercussions for farmers, who fear the strong winds may have blown away their crops.

"I've probably seeded this field a week ago," said Curtis Macrae, who grows canola and other seeds near Oak Hammock Marsh.

"So within two weeks, if I don't start seeing rows, then I've got troubles."

Macrae said he doesn't know if he would be able to re-seed, as canola seeds are currently in scarce supply.

Wall collapses

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers say the windstorm was also responsible the partial collapse of a wall at the construction site for the new stadium.

A section of brick wall belonging to the administration building fell over.

Wind problems in the past have caused construction delays at the site, resulting in lengthy delays to the facility completed.