Tornado touches down south of Virden, Man. Friday evening
WINNIPEG -- Environment Canada said a tornado touched down in Manitoba Friday evening.
It was reported the twister hit near Scarth, Man. around 8 p.m., which is about 16 kilometres south of Virden.
Sean Schofer, who is a storm chaser from Saskatchewan, said the tornado ripped through a farm and threw a few vehicles.
"It threw two different vehicles, one into the ditch. There were two occupants trapped in there," said Schofer, "plus there were downed power lines around the vehicle also, so that hampered the rescue operation.
"Then the other field, I would say about 200 yards from the field, it threw another vehicle into the ditch… Unfortunately as it threw into the field, its occupant was thrown from the vehicle."
Schofer said this particular tornado has been one of the largest tornados in western Canada that he has seen.
STARS Air Ambulance tweeted that it was dispatched to the Virden area just before 9 p.m.
A STARS spokesperson said the helicopter was called to the scene of a flipped car, but stood down as it was no longer required.
RCMP said a 54-year-old man, from the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, was taken to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
The Wallace District Fire Department (WDFD) said in an email to CTV News that crews had to extricate a person from a vehicle that was in a ditch.
"He was taken to Virden Hospital," said Brad Yochim, who is the fire chief for the WDFD.
Yochim said the farmyard nearby took a "direct hit" but said no one was hurt there.
"Several grain bins were destroyed but the home was not damaged."
He said RCMP are searching the area with a search dog.
Aaron Jayjack, who is also a storm chaser, said he knew a tornado was coming when he started to hear the roar of it develop.
"This funnel came down and it fully condensed down in the field," said Jayjack.
He added the twister was on the ground for about 10 to 15 minutes.
"This was a major tornado. A strong one, maybe an EF3 or EF4."
Tornados are measured on an Enhanced Fujita scale, and Jayjack said this size of tornado is on the rarer end to see.
Manitoba Hydro confirmed there are outages in the area due to the tornado. Some customers have been restored already but hydro said it isn't sure how severe the damage is.
On Saturday morning, Manitoba Hydro said it had restored power back to everyone except for six customers. According to the utility company, the tornado missed critical transmission lines, but it still has to replace a number of wood poles and power lines to get all customers restored.
Environment Canada had issued a Tornado Warning for the Rural Municipality of Pipestone and Sifton, which included the Oak Lake area. That was later downgraded to a severe thunderstorm watch.
"Damaging winds, large hail and locally intense rainfall are also possible," Environment Canada said on its website.
Environment Canada said the thunderstorm was moving southeast at around 30 kilometres an hour.
If Manitobans see threatening weather they are advised to take shelter.
People are told to go indoors and stay away from windows and outside walls. It is best if people take shelter in a basement, bathroom, stairwell, or interior closet.
For those who can't make it indoors, they should lie in a low lying spot and protect their head from flying debris.
CTV News has reached out to RCMP and Environment Canada for more details.
To report severe weather send an email to MBstorm@canada.ca or tweet using #MBStorm.