Officials say a tornado that hit the western province of Manitoba last night lasted “an incredible” two-and-a-half to three hours. Videos and photos taken by people who make a habit of chasing storms show a wide, wedge-shaped tornado near the community of Tilston in addition to a multiple-vortex system swirling through farm fields nearby.
It was ‘a monster,’ says storm chaser
A “monster” was how professional storm chaser Greg Johnson characterized the twister. He hosts a program called Tornado Hunters which is broadcast on country television station. He was within 100 metres of the tornado as it thundered through fields just west of Pierson.
“At one point it was a perfect stovepipe-type tornado. At one point it was a kilometer-wide wedge tornado. And then there were a number of times where we could see upwards of five, six, maybe even seven little fingers dropping out of the bottom of it,” he said.
‘Amazing…that no one was seriously injured’
“If you can imagine braiding someone’s hair and those braids all intertwining with each other, that’s what was happening with this multi-vortex stage of the tornado. It was incredible [and] the part that’s so amazing is that no one was seriously injured. To me it’s a bit of a shock.”
Experts from the government department Environment Canada are tallying the damage from the tornado and calculate how strong it was. There appear to be downed trees and power poles, and the siding has been torn off some homes. No injuries have been reported.
There are about 62 twisters across Canada every year. About two-thirds of them occur on the Prairies, flat land in the western part of the country. While they appear formidable and can be dangerous, most have low wind speeds and touch down in unpopulated areas.