A tornado touched down Monday evening in southwestern Manitoba and lasted for hours.

Environment Canada started to receive several reports of a tornado near Pierson at 8:30 p.m. It said numerous people reported rotating wall clouds and funnel clouds in southeastern Saskatchewan and southwestern Manitoba.

The weather service says the tornado stayed on the ground for "an incredible" couple of hours last night, starting near Pierson close to the Saskatchewan-Manitoba boundary and tracking north to Tilston, then near Virden.

Manitoba Hydro says about 2 km of power lines were damaged by the tornado.

Fifty customers in the nearby Reston area are without power as a result.

It continues to look into reports of damage to a farmstead in the Tilston area as well as reports of damaged grain bins and roads but will have to analyze reports and images from the area before it rates the tornado's strength.

Tilston is near the Saskatchewan border, about 80 kilometres southwest of Virden. Environment Canada had issued a tornado warning for the area in the Rural Municipality of Albert at 8 p.m.

Around 9 p.m., Environment Canada said the tornado had become rain-wrapped and hard to see. Doppler radar indicated the tornado was still likely on the ground. The system was moving to the north-northeast.

Meteorologist Brian Proctor called rain-wrapped tornados “especially dangerous” as they are hard to see as they approach and more so in darkness.

Proctor said a consistent radar image made it appear the tornado was on the ground for a portion of the night between 8:30 and 11 p.m. It received reports from the Sinclair area as well as northeast of Virden at 10:55.

Warnings remained in place until after midnight but were lifted before 12:45 as the system weakened.

Environment Canada said conditions were favourable for severe thunderstorms that may produce tornadoes, as an exceedingly hot, moist air mass is in place over the province and a warm front swept up from the Dakotas that triggered storms.

Environment Canada will be sending a storm damage survey team to western Manitoba to assess any damage and determine the exact track of a tornado and determine its strength based on the damage.


- with files from the Canadian Press