Surveying the aftermath


Massive tornado strikes Alonsa area


Photo property of Vanessa Lambourne Whyte. The damage from the tornado was evident across the edge of the Margaret Bruce Beach, just east of Alonsa. 

By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

When the Alonsa tornado was officially upgraded to a Level Four storm, it wasn’t really a surprise to those who experienced it. The massive tornado, which tore through the communities of Alonsa, Silver Ridge, and Margaret Bruce Beach on Friday, Aug. 4, has now been categorized by Environment Canada officials as an EF-4, making it the strongest tornado confirmed this year in all of North America.

For Don Lee, who has seen a lot of life and weather, the storm’s passing and arrival was an amazing event.

“I was at my home (on Hwy. 50 south of Silver Ridge) and I noticed a car going by slowly. Soon the car came back in and the lady rushed to our house.” 

Lee couldn’t see the approaching storm but the lady had. She had sent a picture to her mother in Swan River who told her to go back to the last house she had passed. She did and waited out the storm at Lee’s place. 

Meanwhile, a number of Lee’s children and grandchildren were camping at Margaret Bruce Beach and somehow heard about the storm. All the campers evacuated the beach area. The only road out was towards the storm and then north up Hwy. 50 to get out of its path. Lee said he waited a couple of hours not hearing about the fate of his family members but in the end they were safe.

Additional details and pictures will appear in the Friday, Aug. 10 edition of the Neepawa Banner & Press