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Pipestone residents clean up after storm

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Manitoba Hydro crews work to restore power to Pipestone on Sunday after Saturday evening's powerful storm knocked down power lines throughout the community. The community centre (in the background) lost part of its roof during the storm and debris from a destroyed trailer also litters the ground.

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Manitoba Hydro crews work to restore power to Pipestone on Sunday after Saturday evening's powerful storm knocked down power lines throughout the community. The community centre (in the background) lost part of its roof during the storm and debris from a destroyed trailer also litters the ground.

PIPESTONE – Residents of this western Manitoba community were assessing the damage Sunday from a Saturday evening storm that ripped roofs from buildings, snapped power lines, pushed trees onto cars and homes and left debris scattered all over.

Environment Canada said it’s likely a tornado touched down in the area.

Volunteers with trucks and tractors spent the day dragging uprooted trees through the village streets and into piles on an adjacent field.

Golf ball-sized hail smashed through car windows and caused substantial damage to crops in the area. No injuries were reported.

Roger and Kathy Swanson saw winds lift the green tin roof from their partially renovated home and tossed pieces of it all over town. Portions of the roof tore through the community and landed as far as two blocks away, Roger said. Shards of twisted metal and wood from the home were seen in surrounding yards and even nestled atop nearby hydro poles. The town’s skating rink, built in 1957, is in ruins.

Pipestone’s community centre, which was hosting Pipestone Fun Days earlier in the day, now has a gaping hole it its roof.

Mel Irwin, 74, who has farmed near Sinclair, about 25 km west of Pipestone, all his life, said he hasn’t seen a storm like Saturday’s since the mid-1960s.

About 60 per cent of his 1,000 acres of wheat, oats, barley and corn were levelled in the storm, he said.

Manitoba Hydro workers were inspecting each hydro pole to make sure no power lines were left exposed. About 1,000 homes had their power knocked out by the storm, and workers were trying to restore power to the town Sunday afternoon.

According to Environment Canada meteorologist Mark Gerlyand, one witness reported a tornado 20 kilometres east of Pipestone at around 7:30 p.m. A weather station in Reston reported 42 millimetres of rain hit the area in less than an hour before the storm died down east of Brandon, which is about 100 kilometres from Pipestone, Gerlyand said.

— Brandon Sun

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