Manitoba Hutterite colony faces tornado aftermath

No one at the New Rosedale Hutterite Colony has ever seen weather quite like yesterday's storm.

No houses damaged but multiple farm buildings destroyed, says colony member

Wednesday's tornado near Portage la Prairie destroyed several farm buildings at New Rosedale Hutterite Colony but spared the community's houses. (Meagan Fiddler/CBC)

No one at the New Rosedale Hutterite Colony in southwestern Manitoba has ever seen weather quite like yesterday's storm.

Rachelle Baer, a member of the colony near Portage la Prairie, Man., said it still feels "surreal" to see the dramatic damage a tornado and windstorm caused in her community Wednesday.

"We looked south from our houses and saw the metal flying around in the air so we knew that the tornado was here," Baer said.

"Not even the eldest who lived here have ever seen anything like this."
New Rosedale Hutterite Colony member Rachelle Baer said it feels surreal to see the damage left by a tornado in her community. (CBC)

About 130 people live in New Rosedale, she said, and thankfully no one was hurt in the storm. Only one animal — a calf — was killed by a falling beam.

Unlike the nearby Long Plain First Nation, the storm spared the colony's houses but it pummeled the farm's outbuildings.

A large grain bin was crushed like a tin can and several sheds — one 54 metres high — was flattened.

A vacant mobile home has all but disappeared. Baer said she expects pieces of it will be found in the rubble.

There are bits of wood, sheets of metal and other debris strewn as far as they eye can see in nearby fields.

"We're very fortunate and blessed that it didn't hit our homes. It actually didn't do any damage to our homes," said Baer.

A large grain bin was flattened in Wednesday's storm. (CBC)

Help on the way

Baer said the next step in the clean up will be taking out chainsaws to cut up all the wood and trees that are littered like spilled match sticks across the property.

While the task at hand is not going to be easy, Baer said she's confident with help the community will have the area restored.

"We have a lot of our neighbours and friends coming to volunteer so when we all start working on it it won't take us too long," she said.

An official with Environment Canada on the ground in New Rosedale to examine damage on Thursday said the agency is certain a tornado swept through the area.

with files from Meagan Fiddler