More details are emerging about a tornado that carved a destructive path through the rural community of Alonsa, Man., on Friday night, leaving one person dead and injuring two others.
An RCMP spokesman said a 77-year-old man was found dead outside his smashed home in the community about 165 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg, while a spokesman 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 were reported in the immediate aftermath of the storm.
Meteorologist Brad Vrolijk said a three-person team from Environment Canada was dispatched to area Saturday to survey the storm damage, and determine the twister’s exact path, size and wind speed.
“There are indications that the winds were very strong, but it’s going to take several days to just comb through all of that evidence they gathered and determine just how strong this tornado was,” he said.
Several homes and cottages were swept off their foundations and a number of vehicles were also blown around by the tornado.
“There is certainly vehicles extensively damaged, some rolled,” Vrolijk said. “There was a truck that was thrown into a lake, there’s several trailers that have been destroyed.”
Vrolijk said another clear indication of the ferocity of the twister is the trees, some left completely bare of leaves and bark.
A final determination has yet to be made on the exact width of the twister’s path, but according to Vrolijk the investigators said that at one point it seemed to be about 800 metres, and that it was likely on the ground for at least 20 minutes before making its exit over Lake Manitoba.
The area was pounded by more severe thunderstorms on Saturday, and Vrolijk said that at one point the survey team had to take cover as “golf ball” sized hail pelted down.
There is better news in the latest weather forecast – Vrolijk said a much cooler air mass is moving in with a ridge of high pressure, so it should be quiet at least for the next few days, making cleanup efforts a little easier.