Strength of tornado that killed 2 in southwest Manitoba upgraded, had winds up to 260 km/h

By | August 17, 2020

Environment Canada has updated its assessment of a tornado in southern Manitoba that left two people dead and one other injured, now believing winds were more than 50 km/h stronger than first reported. 

The tornado struck near Scarth, Man., located about 13 kilometres south of Virden, on the evening of Aug. 7.

Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury, both 18 and from Melita, were pronounced dead at the scene after the pickup truck they were in was swept up by the twister.  Another vehicle, driven by James Blacksmith of Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, was also thrown by the tornado. Blacksmith survived, but sustained serious injures. 

The storm also left extensive damage at a nearby farmsite and left trees snapped and power lines down. 

Environment Canada sent a team to the scene the next day and gave the twister a preliminary rating of EF-2 on the Enhanced Fujita scale, which weather agencies use to measure the force of tornadoes.

However, it now says it was an EF-3 and brought winds of up to 260 km/h.  

It was the first of two tornados to hit southwest Manitoba this month. 

Last Thursday, a tornado briefly touched down near Alexander, Man., west of Brandon.

Environment Canada rated that twister an EF-0 and said it had winds of up to 130 km/h. No injuries were reported. 

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