Hours after the province issued a high wind and flood warning, Mother Nature proved them right.
Heavy rains and high winds moved into Southern Manitoba Sunday afternoon and evening, hitting the Brandon area hardest, flooding streets, stores and spawning a possible tornado.
The province of Manitoba issued a warning Sunday afternoon of overland flooding and high winds for the area.
“A weather system may release 75 to 100 millimetres of rain in these areas in the next three to four days, starting this afternoon,” said the warning.
“Areas in the southwest of Manitoba, including Virden and Brandon, could see up to 175 millimetres of rain during this time.”
At about 4 p.m. Environment and Climate Change Canada issued a tornado warning for an area just north of Brandon. It was cancelled four hours later.
Environment and Climate Change Canada told 680 CJOB Monday morning that they were working to confirm the tornado.
“A rain-wrapped tornado touched down briefly near Rapid City,” they said in a bulletin, although a bulletin is not an official report.
“There were reports of snapped trees and property damage in the area. Further investigation is continuing.”
At this point, only funnel clouds have been confirmed, said Brad Frolijk, meteorologist with ECCC.
“We had no actual reports of seeing a tornado,” said Folijk, “But we did start getting then pictures of tree damage, coming from strong winds, and then reports of some structural damage.”
“We’ll need to continue to look into it today.”
Funnel clouds are not considered tornadoes unless they touch the ground.
The system that spawned the storms is likely to stay out of the area for Monday, but may move back into southwestern and central Manitoba Tuesday, said Folijk.
Monday morning, the cleanup began in Brandon, where homes and stores flooded and trees were toppled all over the city.
“Yesterday afternoon, a band of very slow-moving thunderstorms developed over the region and unfortunately decided to sit over Brandon for a couple of hours,” said Frolijk, “and they were hit again later in the evening by another band of thunderstorms.”
The first storm produced anywhere from 100 mm to 120 mm of rain in Brandon, and the second storm dumped another 50 mm.
The record in Brandon for wettest day was set on June 1, 1902, with 141 mm of rain in total.
Outside of Brandon, the storms arced upwards towards Minnedosa and Alonza, Man. and dumped up to 160 mm of rain in some spots, Frolijk added.
Minnedosa Mayor Pat Skatch said the community was pulling together to clean up Monday after the storm left the river running through town as well as the community’s ditches, full.
“Mother Nature just kept giving us more moisture; we needed a bit, but we got more than we needed and it’s caused some devastation,” she said, adding volunteers were helping municipal crews.
“We will keep working forward and try to protect what we can.”
Skatch said the dam that protects Minnedosa was holding as of shortly after noon Monday.
“They did restoration to our dam a couple years ago, so we’re probably in better shape than we were a few years ago,” she said, telling 680 CJOB Manitoba Infrastructure is monitoring the dam.
“At this point, we’re all good.”
Skatch said a foot bridge that connects the north and south sides of the community had been destroyed by the swollen, rushing river, but the vehicular bridge on Main Street was holding up.
Jeremy Smith posted this video on Facebook showing trees down in Brandon. (Note: Explicit language.)
A structure near Rapid City, Man. was severely damaged due to severe winds, and may have been the biggest casualty of the possible tornado.
In Brandon, stores, parking lots and the Brandon Regional Hospital basement flooded.
The hospital said Monday that the basement flooded, damaging several departments.
“Staff worked through the night to clean up the water and minimize the damage. Clean up efforts will continue today,” they said in a statement.
Scheduled surgeries and endoscopy procedures are cancelled for today, Monday, June 29th as a result of water damage in the Medical Device Reprocessing area. Designated patient visitation will go-ahead today, Monday, June 29th from 3 pm – 7 pm with the same guidelines in place.”
Toonie-sized hail was found near Clear Lake, Man.