Tornado sent 'trees flying all over' Manitoba farmer's property
'I've never seen anything like it before,' says Fred Raynor, who saw tornado rip through his yard
People in southwestern Manitoba are cleaning up from last night's tornado, which left a path of destruction through local farms while downing hydro poles and almost lifting a storm chaser's truck off the ground.
Environment Canada says the tornado was first reported south of Tilston, Man., and moving north at 8:28 p.m. CT Monday, about half an hour after tornado warnings were issued for the area.
It was then reported near Reston, Man., at 9:55 p.m. and northeast of Virden, Man., at 10:55 p.m.
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Environment Canada calls it a "rare" event, as radar imagery shows the same tornado stayed on the ground for 2½ to three hours. In Canada, tornadoes rarely stay on the ground longer than a few minutes.
"Trees flying all over, some going one way, some going the other way," said Raynor, who watched from his living room as his family hid in the basement.
"I've never seen anything like it before."
Raynor said all he heard were banging sounds as the trees landed on his roof.
One of his grandchildren, 12-year-old Noah Jacobson, said the storm was one of the scariest things he has ever experienced.
"And [it] just started picking up — you could see clouds twisting, it was crazy, and then trees were falling. I thought it was going to pick the house up," he said.
"We were sitting downstairs, we were sitting on the stairs, so I thought the house was gone."
Bins, shed, coop destroyed
While Raynor said he and his family are relieved they're OK and their house and barn are still standing, the strong winds destroyed some of their bins, another barn, a cattle shed and chicken coop.
"She had 400 chickens in it. The [sons-in-law] and daughters gathered chickens here last night until midnight, and they found about half of them," he said.
Raynor said he called all of his neighbours after the tornado passed. None of them were hurt, but many experienced property damage, he said.
"Neighbours are good. That's the main thing. Everybody got out without anyone getting hurt," he said.
"They were all here first thing this morning … here to help."
Some of the clean-up underway and damage at Fred Raynor's home in the RM of Two Borders. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cbcmb?src=hash">#cbcmb</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/mbstorm?src=hash">#mbstorm</a> <a href="http://t.co/ZvJq71OSDK">pic.twitter.com/ZvJq71OSDK</a>—@angjohnston
Teen recalls tornado almost lifting truck
Another person who witnessed the tornado first-hand was 15-year-old Dakota Radcliffe of Hartney, Man., He and his older brother were in a pickup truck that was almost lifted off the ground about eight kilometres west of Reston, Man.
"Me and my brother had to put ourselves in the ditch with the truck to get lower so we didn't get scooped up or flipped over. We nearly did," he said.
His father, amateur storm chaser Rob Radcliffe, said he was in another vehicle and encountered rain, hail, lightning. He also saw several funnel clouds but turned around at one point.
The elder Radcliffe said it was "heart-wrenching" to hear about what happened to his sons, but he's happy no one was hurt.
"It was very intense and emotional for me. God pulled us through that. It was a blessing they weren't hurt. We are very grateful for that," he said.
"There was some lessons learned on how to approach these storms in the future and hopefully he picked up on some of those … [it] gets really dangerous when you're chasing these things. Sometimes you just need to turn tail and get out because it is too dangerous."
Storm damaged bridge
Environment Canada's damage survey team will be in southwest Manitoba to see the impact and rank the tornado.
Damage from the twister and accompanying thunderstorm closed a bridge on Highway 256 west of Melita from Monday night until Tuesday afternoon, when the road reopened to traffic.
<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MBHwy256?src=hash">#MBHwy256</a> incident: 10 km north of Jct <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MBHwy3?src=hash">#MBHwy3</a> for 15 km, Road Reopened, Activity Removed—@MBGovRoads
The CBC's Angela Johnston says it looks like the asphalt has crumbled off the top of the bridge.
Meanwhile, Manitoba Hydro has been dealing with power outages, caused by the storms, throughout the southwest and in the Parkland region on Tuesday.
The wind snapped some hydro poles, dropping power lines to the ground. Hydro estimates that 45 poles are damaged or missing due to the storms.
Approx 45 poles missing/damaged due to extreme weather in Westman yesterday. Crews working to replace, restore power. <a href="http://t.co/c2jUGKhnAu">pic.twitter.com/c2jUGKhnAu</a>—@manitobahydro
Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Scott Powell said crews have to bring in specialized equipment to install new poles in very wet ditches.
"In the Melita area there is a stretch of about 1.5 to 2 miles of V-line (distribution line) to 16 customers where all that is left is two poles," Powell said in an email.
"The rest of the infrastructure is simply gone, poles and wires. Rebuilding this section of line will take us all day and into the evening hours."
Powell said Manitoba Hydro has brought in extra staff to help restore power throughout the affected areas.