Environment Canada gives Manitoba tornado 2nd-highest severity classification

A tornado that wreaked havoc in Alonsa, Man., and surrounding communities, leading to one fatality, has now received a more serious classification from Environment Canada.

Tornado that tore through Alonsa, Man., upgraded from EF-3 to EF-4

David Mozdzen snapped this photo of the tornado from a field as it touched down Friday night, tearing through homes in the Alonsa, Man. area, east of Riding Mountain National Park. (Submitted by David Mozdzen)

A tornado that wreaked havoc in Alonsa, Man., and surrounding communities, leading to one fatality, has now received a more serious classification from Environment Canada.

The preliminary rating of EF-3 has been upgraded to an EF-4 for the tornado that went through the Alonsa, Silver Ridge and Margaret Bruce Beach areas on Friday evening. 

 EF-0 tornadoes are the least severe, while the most severe are classified as EF-5. 

Tornado strengths: 

  • EF-0: 90-130 km/h. Damage to trees, shingles, antennas and windows.
  • EF-1: 135-175 km/h. Trees uprooted, cars overturned.
  • EF-2: 180-220 km/h. Roofs blown off homes, sheds destroyed, mobile homes flipped.
  • EF-3: 225-265 km/h. Walls, roofs destroyed, metal buildings collapsed, forests destroyed.
  • EF-4: 270-310 km/h. Well-built homes mostly destroyed, heavy objects thrown long distances.
  • EF-5: 315 km/h or more. Homes destroyed and/or blown great distances, roofs blown off larger structures, which are otherwise heavily damaged.

The tornado's path was as wide as 800 metres, and lasted for at least 20 minutes, the weather agency said Sunday. 

Family members have confirmed to CBC News the man who died is Jack Furrie, 77.

On Sunday, a spokesperson for Environment Canada said an elderly couple was admitted to hospital after a wall in their home just east of Alonsa fell on them. No other casualties have been reported. 

A three-person team from Environment Canada was dispatched to the area, about 165 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, on Saturday to survey the storm damage and determine the twister's exact path, size and wind speed.

Based on a survey of the damage, Environment Canada said: 

  • A small farmhouse was destroyed where the 77-year-old man lived.
  • One home was partially destroyed, injuring an elderly couple.
  • Two cabins were destroyed: one on the shore of Lake Manitoba and the other just to the west.
  • Many, many trailers, tractors and vehicles were destroyed.
  • Two horses that belonged to the man who died ran away, but returned. 
  • A group of cattle were still missing; they ran away after a fence was demolished.
  • A tornado that touched down in Manitoba is prompting calls for change to the emergency alert system. 3:07