Manitoba's EF-4 strongest tornado this year in North America
Tuesday, August 7, 2018, 9:33 AM - Damage surveys continue in the wake of the tornado that tore through the communities of Alonsa, Silver Ridge, and Margaret Bruce Beach, Manitoba, last Friday. Environment Canada officials revised their initial rating on Monday, categorizing the deadly tornado as an EF-4 -- and making it the strongest tornado confirmed this year in all of North America.
EF-4 damage is associated with maximum winds between 267 and 322 km/h; speeds that make for devastating damage that levels even well-built houses and turns debris into deadly projectiles. The Alonsa tornado has been estimated to have boasted maximum winds between 270 and 280 km/h.
At least one person -- 77-year-old Jack Furrie -- was killed as the tornado ripped through the region. Furrie was found dead outside his destroyed home in Alonsa; the first confirmed fatality in a Canadian tornado since 2011's event in Goderich.
The tornado carved a path of destruction up to 800 metres wide, according to a report from CBC News, citing Environment Canada. The twister is estimated to have been on the ground for about 20 minutes, during which time it obliterated numerous structures and tossed farm machinery weighing several tons around like toys.
WATCH BELOW: TREMENDOUS DAMAGE IN THE WAKE OF THE EF-4 TORNADO
WARNED, BUT NOT INFORMED?
People in and around Alonsa may not have had enough warning time due to cell phone coverage issues in the area, according to a report from CBC.
Environment Canada issued a tornado warning at 8:17 p.m. CST, but Natalie Hasell, a warning preparedness meteorologist with EC, told CBC local residents told her they did not receive the alert. An official with the community of Alonsa, which took a direct hit from the twister, said she saw a warning on her TV, but didn't receive a warning on her phone until she had moved far enough away to get cell phone coverage.
"We couldn't phone to warn anybody. We were filming this, we were out on the road, and we could see it coming and the direction it's going, and you can't phone anybody," she told the broadcaster.
Nearby, an elderly couple was taken to hospital after a wall in their home fell on them, according to Environment Canada.
WATCH BELOW: TORNADO NEAR ALONSA RIPS APART A STORE
In the same area, Vanessa Lambourne Whyte posted several images to Facebook from Margaret Bruce Beach, east of Alonsa, showing overturned and damaged trailers and vehicles.
"At the beach itself, it seemed everyone was ok and accounted for. Lots of people were there checking out every camper, vehicle, etc. Not sure about the surrounding areas," she wrote.
The victim of this tornado was the first confirmed tornado fatality in Canada since August 2011, when a tornado later rated EF-3 at its maximum strength ripped through the Lake Huron town of Goderich, Ont. A 61-year-old man was killed during that event, and more than 30 people were injured.