'He lived a full life': Man, 77, dies in Manitoba tornado
Published Saturday, August 4, 2018 8:15AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, August 4, 2018 7:29PM EDT
One man was killed when a tornado touched down Friday night near Alonsa, Man., about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
A 77-year-old man, identified by his family as Jack Furrie, did not survive the storm.
The former schoolteacher’s grandson, Kelly Brown, described Furrie as “kind, smart (and) funny.”
“Always had something good to say, something funny to say,” Brown told CTV Winnipeg. “He lived a good life.”
Brown says that Furrie had a small root cellar but no basement on the property where he lived alone.
Brown’s aunt and uncle, who live a few doors down from Furrie, were also sent to hospital after a wall came down on top of them during the storm.
Alonsa Rural Municipality Reeve Stan Asham tells CTV News there is significant damage in the area of Margaret Bruce Provincial Park, on the shores of Lake Manitoba.
Several social media users posted videos and images showing several destroyed structures near the community after the twister hit shortly before 9 p.m. local time.
Others reported seeing tennis-ball-sized hail, up to six centimetres in diameter.
Environment and Climate Change Canada has sent a team of investigators to the area to determine the intensity the twister and how long it was on the ground, amid unconfirmed reports the tornado tore a path of destruction on the ground for 30 to 45 minutes.
“It looked like a significant tornado,” meteorologist Mike Russo said in a phone interview with CTV News.
He said the team will use a drone and try and get an aerial view of the damage, adding the investigation will take a day or two to complete.
Valerie McInnes was in her camper at Margaret Bruce park Friday night, playing backgammon, when her neighbour came by to warm her about a funnel cloud.
“We watched it for a few minutes,” McInnes told CTV News. But after a few miutes, they realized the storm appeared to be heading straight toward the campground.
“Everyone was frantically putting things in their vehicles and taking off,” she said.
McInnes left with her husband and filmed what became a tornado from the passenger side of their vehicle.
“It was huge,” she said of the twister.
They later returned to the beach and found serious damage, including destroyed homes and campers on top of vehicles.
"I have a whole new respect for the weather after tonight," she wrote on Facebook.
Vanessa Lambourne Whyte took several photos of the storm’s aftermath Friday night and posted them to Facebook, where her photo album has been shared more than 4,000 times.
She says her sister and brother-in-law were in the path of the storm and fled to nearby Silver Ridge just in time. But she reports that many families didn’t have enough time to get out and instead headed to nearby houses to wait out the storm in their basements.
Lambourne Whyte says she saw significant damage at a private beach just north of the park when she arrived to take photos.
“The tops of all the trees were all missing,” she told CTV News Channel from her home in McCreary, Man.
“At the beach site, campers were up on their roofs, completely demolished, cabins were gone, there was a lot of debris in the lake,” she said.
She said her sister is assessing the damage at her cabin, but is pretty shaken up by the experience.
“Everybody’s there trying to lend a hand now, trying to do some light clean-up, whatever they can do by hand,” she said.
“But everybody is pretty much in shock.”
With reports from CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell and The Canadian Press