In what could be described as a severe weather outbreak, multiple confirmed tornadoes were spotted Wednesday night as parts of Southcentral Manitoba were hammered by very strong thunderstorms.

"As of Thursday morning, based on videos and photos, storm chasers caught tornadoes on the ground near Baldur, St. Alphonse, west of Swan Lake and near Darlingford," explained CMOS Accredited Weathercaster Chris Sumner. "The first twister was spotted northeast of Baldur between 6 and 6:15 p.m., with the additional tornadoes following afterward."

He noted there were two specific thunderstorm cells which prompted Tornado Warnings Wednesday night; the first being the one which produced the tornado near Baldur/Swan Lake/Darlingford and then a second which was located to the southeast of that which triggered Tornado Warnings for the Morden, Winkler, Plum Coulee, Altona and Gretna region.

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"Relatively quickly that second cell weakened and moved out of the Morden, Winkler and Altona region, but only an hour or so later, as it travelled southeasterly from the Baldur region, the first cell kicked off a second round of Tornado Warnings for those communities," said Sumner. "The Outdoor Emergency Warning Sirens were activated in all three communities multiple times Wednesday evening. In my twenty years of living in the area, I have not personally experienced this many Tornado Warnings over the course of one evening." 

There have been few reports of damage, to this point, but an outdoor event structure near Swan Lake First Nation is believed to have had part of its roof and walls torn off by one of the tornadoes.

slfn pow wow groundsThe grounds used for Pow Wow's and other events at Swan Lake First Nation was hit by the severe weather.

"What will happen now is Environment Canada and the Northern Tornadoes Project will investigate the video and photographic reports from last night, analyze the damage caused, and then determine how strong each of the twisters was," added Sumner. 

The Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP), founded at Western University in 2017, aims to better detect tornado occurrence throughout Canada, improve severe and extreme weather understanding and prediction, mitigate against harm to people and property, and investigate future implications due to climate change. Western University also partners with the University of Manitoba, Pelmorex's The Weather Network, Instant Weather and CatIQ, and closely collaborates with Environment and Climate Change Canada and several Canadian and international universities on this Project.

tornadoA tornado flew by this farm near Swan Lake

The following totals are for Wednesday, June 12th and are courtesy of the Manitoba Ag Weather Network and in many cases, the rain fell in a short amount of time:

Birtle - 21.5mm
Austin - 14.1mm
Elm Creek - 13.2mm
Erickson - 12.7mm
Gladstone - 12.4mm
Holland - 9.7mm
Manitou - 8.1mm
Portage la Prairie - 6.5mm
Elie - 4.2mm
Carman - 2.5mm

Looking ahead to the remainder of the week, quieter weather is expected Thursday and Friday, with mainly sunny conditions both days.

"A weak disturbance moving through Southern Manitoba today may trigger a shower or non-severe thunderstorm this afternoon or this evening," said Sumner. "Northwesterly flow today will keep temperatures a few degrees below average, landing between 20 and 22. Surface high pressure, and some upper level ridging, will help keep us mainly sunny for a good part Friday, as temperatures rebound into the 25 to 27 range, but then it appears we may be heading into a stretch of wet weather, once again."

Sumner explained yet another moisture laden low will cross over the Canadian Rockies, and then track eastward across the Prairies. Ahead of it, southwesterly flow will pump additional moisture into the system, setting the stage for several rounds of precipitation between Saturday and Tuesday nights.

tornado damageThere wasn't much left of this structure after the tornado near Swan Lake. (from Facebook page of Henry Delichte)