Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Tornado briefly touches down

Funnel clouds, hail hit southern Manitoba

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Tornado, funnel clouds and hail -- oh my.

Southern Manitoba was buffeted by wicked weather for several hours Saturday afternoon, including a tornado touching down briefly outside of St. Adolphe.

Environment Canada meteorologist Mark Gerlyand said the touchdown was brief and there was no damage reported.

"Everything was perfect for funnel clouds," Gerlyand said. "It was just a perfect setup -- cool, unstable air, 6 C only, a low-pressure system and then light winds and sunshine."

Environment Canada had issued a tornado watch for much of southern Manitoba for most of the afternoon and into the evening on Saturday. The weather service, which said a watch is less serious than a tornado warning, said conditions were favourable for funnel clouds or weak tornadoes.

Gerlyand said funnel clouds were reported as far apart as Alexander, about 25 kilometres west of Brandon, the Morden area, and just south of Steinbach. Today is expected to get up to 18 C with sunshine, but Gerlyand said it is the calm before another storm, which is expected to arrive late Monday.

"It's bad news coming up for Lake Manitoba," he said.

"The next system will be very strong northeast winds. The whole south shore of Lake Manitoba -- Delta Beach -- they will be very affected. And there will be 20 to 30 millimetres of rain, at least."

A couple of residents in St. Adolphe said they didn't even know a tornado had touched down there. "I didn't hear anything," said one woman, while another said "I don't know anything about it."

Shyla Annett was driving south on Highway 12 near Steinbach when she saw a funnel cloud in the sky.

"I couldn't believe it at first," Annett said.

"It came about halfway down and then it went up again. It stayed for a few minutes."

Hail the size of quarters fell in the Warren, Woodlands and Stonewall areas.

Traylene Moore-Wright, at the South Interlake Golf and Country Club just east of Warren, said a tournament with 200 golfers was in play when suddenly it was Christmas.

"It turned the greens all white," Moore-Wright said. "It was about gum ball-sized and there was so much on the ground it came over my feet."

Moore-Wright said the hail was accompanied by rain, which left part of the course under water.

"We're closed on Sunday and Monday because of the storm," she said.

Samantha Pratt, of Woodlands, said she was driving home on Highway 6 when the hail storm hit as she was going past Warren.

"It was really bad," Pratt said.

"There was snow and sleet everywhere. Everybody was going 30 (kilometres per hour) and had their flashers on. You could hardly see."

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 29, 2011 A3

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