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Canada's first EF4 tornado shook up a Manitoba town

Tuesday, August 3rd 2021, 5:04 am - On this day in weather history, a tornado ripped through Alonsa, Manitoba.

This Day In Weather History is a daily podcast by Chris Mei from The Weather Network, featuring stories about people, communities and events and how weather impacted them.

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On Friday, August 3, 2018, an EF4 tornado hit Alonsa, Manitoba. It was the strongest 2018 tornado in North America.

At 4:00 p.m., a low-pressure system was on the Saskatchewan/Manitoba border. Another low-pressure system was coming up from North Dakota. The surface heating from Manitoba terrain enhanced the systems and ultimately led to rapid supercell development.

Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado - TWN Archives Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado. Courtesy of TWN

At 8:15 p.m., the tornado touched touch near Alonsa, with winds reaching speeds of 275 km/h. The twister travelled for 15.7 km, reaching widths of 1.2 km. The twister flattened several homes and buildings, causing around $2 million worth of damage.

*Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado. Courtesy of TWN Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado. Courtesy of TWN

*Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado. Courtesy of TWN Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado. Courtesy of TWN

Jack Furrie, a 77-year old, was killed when the twister destroyed his home. Furrie was a retired schoolteacher and farmer. He called his family to warn them about the impending storm.

*Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado. Courtesy of TWN Alonsa, Manitoba Tornado. Courtesy of TWN

Large items, including vehicles, building fragments, and panes of glass were blown into Lake Manitoba. The province brought an excavator machine to remove the debris from the beach area, but many of the larger items couldn't be retrieved from the water.

The Alonsa tornado was the first EF4 since Canada switched to the Enhanced Fujita scale.

To learn more about the Alonsa tornado, listen to today's episode of "This Day In Weather History."

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