A huge tornado touched down in a rural area of Manitoba, Canada, near the North Dakota border on Friday evening, August 7, 2020. The twister flipped a couple of cars, destroyed structures on a farm, and killed two people.
The twister hit the town of Virden, near the North Dakota border, around 01:00 UTC on August 8 (20:00 LT on August 7).
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police identified the victims as a couple– a man and a woman, both aged 18. The two were found dead near a vehicle that had been caught up in the tornado.
According to the Canadian Television Network News, the two were from the town of Melita and residents mourned their deaths.
"I don’t want to say they were two of the nicest kids in town, but they were, actually. They were both quiet and they were really nice kids. It’s going to be tough on the families," said mayor Bill Holden.
Melita has a population of just a little over 1 000, and since the tragedy, the community has been changed. "It's a bit of a cloudy day, and people are just feeling sad and somber at what happened," said priest Matt Koovisk.
Several views of the violent tornado near Virden, MB earlier today Aug. 7, 2020. #MBstorm
— Prairie Storm Chasers (@PrairieChasers) August 8, 2020
Aftermath of the tornado south of Virden, Manitoba. A few dozen people here including clean up crew and folks with the U of M helping Environment Canada assess the path/damage pic.twitter.com/fO01f8VcIv
— Bryce Hoye (@brycehoye) August 8, 2020
Meanwhile, 54-year-old man sustained injuries, who was driving about 1.6 km (1 mile) away.
Witnesses at the scene caught the event on camera, saying they saw the storm tossing vehicles into a ditch and a field.
"It threw two different vehicles, one into the ditch. There were two occupants trapped in there, plus there were downed power lines around the vehicle also, so that hampered the rescue operation," said Sean Schofer, a storm chaser from Saskatchewan.
The storm downed trees, power lines, and destroyed some grain silos on a farm.
"It was an amazing sight to see, then, unfortunately, we witnessed it doing some pretty severe damage, which was really gut-wrenching to watch happen," said another storm chaser named Misheyla Iwasiuk.
— Jordan Carruthers (Manitoba Storm Chasers) (@MBstormchasers) August 8, 2020
— Dustin Freeman (@DusterMB) August 9, 2020
According to The Weather Channel, summer's heat and humidity moved northward across the border from June to August, providing fuel and moisture for extreme weather. The jet stream and storm systems bring tornadoes during these months.
On Friday, one of these storm systems was moving through southern Manitoba, Minnesota, and North Dakota.
The twister formed near the triple point in a low-pressure system– the point where a cold front, a warm front, and an occluded front come together.
You can see the suction vortices in the beginning of the Virden, MB. tornado. We’ve been trying to measure those wind speeds at ground level. Unfortunately our team wasn’t together to deploy probes this day which would have been an easy intercept. @ReedTimmerAccu @PrairieChasers pic.twitter.com/DJ3xoaRevR
— Sean Schofer (@SeanSchofer) August 9, 2020
— Trisha (@Trishacrystal1) August 8, 2020
Featured image credit: Jordan Carruthers
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