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Possible tornado hits Meadow Lake Provincial Park in Saskatchewan

Sunday, June 30th 2019, 7:50 am - 'My poor children were screaming and terrified and we were all yelling that we loved each other,' said camper

Residents living near a provincial park in northern Saskatchewan reported seeing a tornado hit the area Saturday evening, uprooting trees, damaging trailers and forcing residents from a nearby subdivision to evacuate.

Barry Butler, who works with a property development company at Laumans Landing, a subdivision near Meadow Lake Provincial Park 360 km north of Saskatoon, said he was stuck in the middle of the storm.

"There's ... lots of damage throughout the whole subdivision," he said.

Butler said there are 200 lots in the subdivision and it was full for the long weekend. He said he saw trailers flipped over or crushed by trees. He said he heard of a few injuries but didn't know to what extent.

SEE ALSO: Prairies: Isolated storm threat as temperatures begin to cool

Kara Perpletz lives in the nearby village of Goodsoil, roughly 355 kilometres north of Saskatoon. Her husband is part of the volunteer fire department and out at the site where the twister touched down. He's been keeping her updated and said to expect a bus load of people needing somewhere to stay.

"To use his words, it's flat. I don't know if you know much about the Meadow Lake Provincial Park but it is all trees and it's basically the Boreal forest."

Perpletz said people are being taken out of the area on busses and they've opened the Goodsoil Town Hall as a place where evacuees can stay.

murray-doell-campground-meadow-lake-provincial-park-tornado-weather-event These images were Saturday, just before the severe weather swept through the region, and shortly after a possible tornado touched down near the Murray Doell Campground on Lac des Îsles in the Meadow Lake Provincial Park. (Submitted by Tina Barraclough)

"Hopefully, they can get most of the people out if not all of them before it gets dark," she said.

In a tweet sent out just before 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, STARS Air Ambulance said they were being dispatched to Meadow Lake.

On Saturday night, the Saskatchewan Health Authority confirmed three people had been transported to hospital with non-life threatening injuries following a severe weather incident at the campground.

Goodsoil Fire Chief Dave Hill said everyone who was at the campground had been accounted for as of late Saturday. He said a tornado touched down in the area and he's not aware of any fatalities, only some injuries.

Genia Aasen was in the Murray Doell Campground in Meadow Lake Provincial Park when she said the storm hit. Her family visiting from Cold Lake, Alta., to camp.

genia-aasen-storm-pics Genia Aasen said the storm came on suddenly when her family was returning from the beach. (Submitted by Genia Aasen)

It started out small then picked up, she said. When the large hail started dropping, she said she yelled at her children to get inside. While there, the camper was moved about two feet and the supports were broken. My poor children were screaming and terrified and we were all yelling that we loved each other and I think we all thought we were done. - Genia Aasen, camper

"I yelled for all of my kids and my mom and my husband 'Everybody get up to the front of the camper' because the big tree in our campsite looked like it was going to come down in the middle of the camper."

Her children— a nine-year-old, a seven-year-old and a four-year-old— all crowded together in the front bedroom.

"My poor children were screaming and terrified and we were all yelling that we loved each other and I think we all thought we were done."

Before the storm hit, they were at the beach, she said, and some people were still there when the storm hit. Aasen said the site is declared an emergency zone and everyone was forced to leave the area.

tanner-skoretz-photograph Tanner Skoretz was in the campground when the storm hit. He said the family wasn't in their trailer when it was crushed by trees. (Submitted by Tanner Skoretz)

"It's pretty chaotic," Aasen said. "That campground, it's gone. The campground is totally gone and it's going to take a long time to clear out those trees."

Environment Canada said they do not have enough information to confirm if it was a tornado that hit the area or a straight wind event. Witnesses say they saw funnel clouds, although plough winds, another storm weather phenomenon known for striking larger areas than tornadoes, can do similar damage.

Source: CBC


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