'Life-changing disaster,' says mother of farmer whose yard was hit by 1 of 3 tornadoes in Sask. Wednesday

Jul 01, 2022

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Environment and Climate Change Canada has confirmed three tornadoes touched down in Saskatchewan Wednesday afternoon.

The tornadoes were near Foam Lake, Manitou Beach/Watrous and the Cymric/Govan area.

Highway 16 was closed near Foam Lake, approximately 200 kilometres northeast of Regina, because the tornado there toppled grain bins and pushed them onto the road.

Power lines were also down and CP rail trains had to temporarily stop, according to the federal weather agency.

The Watrous and Manitou Beach area is about 150 kilometres west of Foam Lake. The Cymric/Govan area is about 100 kilometres northwest of Regina. 

Chris and Ruth Gislason are the parents of Janina Currah, who farms with her husband Rob five kilometres outside Foam Lake. The tornado hit the Currah's farm and the Gislason's nearby vineyard.

"It was quite the scene," said Chris Gislason, who witnessed the tornado and its damage. 

He said the tornado destroyed a new shed his daughter and son-in-law had just built. Farming equipment was damaged, as was a great deal of their yard. Grain bins were destroyed and strewn across the highway, even taking out a power line, according to Gislason.

Debris is now scattered across several fields.

Chris said nobody was at home in the yard at the time of the tornado and it lifted before it could do further damage to property and people. 

"Luckily nobody was hurt," Chris said. "What made us happy was the house is still standing."

Chris said friends, family and community have stepped up and come out to the damaged Currah farm to offer support, but it will take time to clean everything up.

"You never, never think it will ever happen to you. We've seen tornadoes 15, 20 years ago, but they've never created any damage. It's devastating."

Ruth Gislason echoed her husband's sadness.

"We're very grateful that everybody is safe, but it is a life changing disaster for us."

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