Environment Canada confirmed a tornado touched in southwestern Manitoba Thursday evening.
The warnings, first issued shortly after 5 p.m., for the R.M. of Whitehead including the communities of Alexander and Beresford and the Riverdale Municipality including the communities of Rivers and Wheatland, came to an end a few hours later.
An update from Environment Canada added the City of Brandon, the RM of Cornwallis west of Shilo including Charter, and the RM of Elton, including the community of Forrest, to the warnings just before 6 p.m.
In a tweet sent shortly after 6 p.m. Environment Canada said they’ve received multiple reports of a “brief tornado occurring” between Alexander and Brandon. According to the tweet the tornado was reported to have lifted as of 5:55 p.m.
At 6:23 p.m. the weather agency said the thunderstorm was over the City of Brandon and travelling southeast at 30 km/h.
“This thunderstorm has a history of producing tornadoes and is still capable of producing another tornado,” read a warning on Environment Canada’s website.
“This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation. Take cover immediately, if threatening weather approaches. If you hear a roaring sound or see a funnel cloud, swirling debris near the ground, flying debris, or any threatening weather approaching, take shelter immediately.”
Tornado warnings are issued when imminent or occurring thunderstorms are likely to produce or are producing tornadoes.
Twitter user Kyle Brittain posted a photo of what appeared to be a funnel cloud near Alexander, Man., roughly 25 km west of Brandon, at 5:42 p.m.
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“Go indoors to a room on the lowest floor, away from outside walls and windows, such as a basement, bathroom, stairwell or interior closet. Leave mobile homes, vehicles, tents, trailers and other temporary or free-standing shelter, and move to a strong building if you can,” Environment Canada said in the warning on its website.
“As a last resort, lie in a low spot and protect your head from flying debris.”
Severe thunderstorm warnings and watches were also in effect for much of the southwest corner of the province.
Thursday evening and Friday morning, the storm cleanup began in Brandon.
While there was no major damage, some trees did topple in the province’s second-largest city.
Environment Canada told Global News Friday morning the damage to the city appears to be limited to snapped trees and downed power lines.
Wind speeds for the storm went up to 90 km/h and Brandon received between 40-50 mm of rain, they added.
Over in Hamiota, quarter-sized hail was reported.
The warnings came after two 18-year-olds from Melita were killed and a Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation man was sent to hospital with serious injuries when a tornado touched down near Highway 83 and Road 50N, 16 kilometres south of Virden, Man., last Friday evening.
Up-to-date information on watches and warnings across Manitoba are available on Environment Canada’s website.
-With files from Abigail Turner and Elisha Dacey