Friday was a wicked weather day across southern Manitoba. Tornados touched down in the Gladstone, Neepawa, Arden, Westbourne and MacGregor areas Friday afternoon.

Viewers in those area reported spotting funnel clouds at around 1:00 p.m.

Much of southern Mantiboba was under tornado watches and warning throughout the afternoon and evening.

The twisters didn't cause any major damage or injuries but many Winnipeg residents had a tough time driving in the aftermath of the storms.

The city was hit by a major downpour -- as much as 45 millimetres of rain in the span of two hours on Friday evening. The knee-deep water flooded streets and some underpasses, and it also knocked out traffic lights in some areas.

CTV weather specialist Sylvia Kuzyk says unstable weather will linger in southern Manitoba until midday Saturday.


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Deadly storms to the south

Meanwhile, in the U.S. Midwest, deadly tornadoes claimed two lives.

Police said that two 18-year-old men died when a tree fell on their vehicle in Iowa. Police had to use a backhoe to help free a 15-year-old girl who was trapped in the car's back seat.

The storms also dumped rain in Iowa, a state already facing major flooding. Power outages, lightening strikes, and water-blocked roads were reported in states throughout the Midwest.

Twisters have been touching down at a record pace in the United States.  Meteorologists have recorded at least 1,300 tornadoes this year with the peak season for twisters still to come.

Part of the problem may have to do with what's happening in Canada.

Experts say unusual cold fronts from north of the U.S. border are flowing southwards. There they disrupt masses of moist, warm air -- and that sends clouds swirling and tornadoes on their furious paths.

According to Environment Canada's website:

  • On average, about 80 twisters hit Canada each year
  • Twisters cause on average two deaths and 20 injuries in any given year
  • Canada's "tornado alleys" are: southern Ontario, Alberta, southeastern Quebec, and a stretch from southern Saskatchewan and Manitoba through to Thunder Bay

Tornado safety recomendations from Public Safety Canada:

If you are in a house

  • Go to the basement or take shelter in a small interior ground floor room such as a bathroom, closet or hallway.
  • If you have no basement, protect yourself by taking shelter under a heavy table or desk.
  • In all cases, stay away from windows, outside walls and doors.

If you live on a farm

Livestock hear and sense impending tornadoes. If your family or home is at risk, the livestock will be a non-issue. If your personal safety is not an issue, you may only have time to open routes of escape for your livestock. Open the gate, if you must, and then exit the area in a tangent direction away from the expected path of the twister.

If you are in an office or apartment building

  • Take shelter in an inner hallway or room, ideally in the basement or on the ground floor.
  • Do not use the elevator.
  • Stay away from windows.

If you are in a gymnasium, church or auditorium

  • Large buildings with wide-span roofs may collapse if a tornado hits.
  • If possible, find shelter in another building.
  • If you are in one of these buildings and cannot leave, take cover under a sturdy structure such as a table or desk.

Avoid cars and mobile homes

  • More than half of all deaths from tornadoes happen in mobile homes.
  • Find shelter elsewhere, preferably in a building with a strong foundation.
  • If no shelter is available, lie down in a ditch away from the car or mobile home. Beware of flooding from downpours and be prepared to move.

If you are driving

  • If you spot a tornado in the distance go to the nearest solid shelter.
  • If the tornado is close, get out of your car and take cover in a low-lying area, such as a ditch.

In all cases

  • Get as close to the ground as possible, protect your head and watch for flying debris.
  • Do not chase tornadoes - they are unpredictable and can change course abruptly.
  • A tornado is deceptive. It may appear to be standing still but is, in fact, moving toward you.