Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Meteorologist Says Manitoba Tornado Had Destructive Power Similar to Edmonton's

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Meteorologist Says Manitoba Tornado Had Destructive Power Similar to Edmonton's

Article excerpt

Meteorologists say Manitoba twister was an EF4

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ALONSA, Man. - An Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist says a tornado that killed a man in Manitoba may have had similar destructive power as the deadly twister that struck Edmonton more than 30 years ago.

Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with the agency, said the twister that hit the area around Alonsa on Friday night reached an EF4 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. The scale measures storms on the level of destruction that investigators note, and an EF4 means winds speeds are believed to have reached between 270 and 310 kilometres per hour.

"One of the houses that we saw was wiped clean off its foundation," Hasell said about the tornado that happened about 165 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.

"Cabins were destroyed. All that was left of them were empty spaces on the ground."

Hasell said many of the trailers in a campground couldn't even be found, and some presumably ended up in nearby Lake Manitoba. Trucks were lifted off the ground and rolled, and a field that had 80 bales of freshly cut hay had only five bales left on it, with many of them being blown to the beach.

RCMP say a 77-year-old man, who friends say was a retired schoolteacher and farmer, was found outside his wrecked home near the community. No other injuries have been reported.

The Edmonton tornado that killed 27 people in 1987 was considered an F4, measured on an older scale that estimated that winds would need to be between 330 to 410 km/h to cause the damage that was observed.

However, Hasell explained that the new scale estimates similar damage to be possible at lower wind speeds. She said that while the Alonsa twister is estimated to have been on the low end of an EF4 with wind speeds between 270 and 280 km/h, it produced similar sorts of destruction observed in Edmonton. …

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