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'Likely' tornado rips through Pipestone

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Downed trees litter the streets after a severe storm passed over the community of Pipestone Saturday evening.

TIM SMITH / BRANDON SUN Enlarge Image

Downed trees litter the streets after a severe storm passed over the community of Pipestone Saturday evening.

HEAVY storms -- including what a meteorologist says was likely a tornado -- ripped through southwestern Manitoba Saturday evening, with reports of overturned campers and a demolished arena.

The path of destruction started in the Pipestone area and continued east towards Hartney.

"The radar indication at that time showed a rotation indicative of a possible tornado," said Rob Paola, severe weather meteorologist for Environment Canada. "Nothing is confirmed yet, but it's quite likely there was a tornado in Pipestone."

Paola said the Winnipeg weather office has received reports half the town's arena was flattened and numerous homes and the town hall suffered roof damage. As well, several campers were overturned.

Heavy rain, hail and more reports of damage came in from the Hartney area, Paola said.

The storm system was weakening as the night progressed, but Environment Canada was expecting severe weather in the Morden area last night.

Sheila Campbell, who along with her husband, Kendon, operates a cattle farm north of nearby Reston, said they were working the fields Saturday evening and tried to return home amid the chaotic weather.

"We tried to get to the house but we couldn't because of the flood" on the road to their house, she said Saturday evening. "The water coming down the field was just like a river."

The hail was intense, she added. "It wasn't really big, but it lasted for about 15 minutes. It just kept coming and coming."

"It was like a huge snowstorm where there'd be like five inches of snow on the ground. It's still there three hours later."

She said the hay crop on their 600-acre operation, along with many crops in the area, is likely destroyed.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 14, 2013 0

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