NEWS

New Brunswick towns clean up after possible tornado

07/22/2013 09:05 EDT | Updated 09/21/2013 05:12 EDT
Residents of the Grand Lake area in central New Brunswick are cleaning up after a possible tornado touched down on Saturday night.

The violent storm left a path of uprooted trees, damaged buildings and displaced vehicles.

Residents in Cambridge Narrows, Whites Cove and Juniper reported damage by the powerful winds.

Environment Canada investigators are heading to the communities, about 40 kilometres east of Fredericton, on Monday to investigate whether it was in fact a tornado that caused so much damage Saturday night.

Harold Jones said the storm destroyed three of his buildings and damaged several vehicles.

He said he doesn’t know how long it is going to take to clean up, but he said it will be expensive to repair the damage.

"I haven't got a clue [what’s next]," he said. "I know I'm going to be busy for a few days cleaning up."

The winds were so powerful that a dump truck in the area was blown the length of a football field.

Ronald MacLean has been living in the Grand Lake area for 67 years and has never witnessed such a powerful storm before.

On Sunday morning, the impact of the storm was all too evident. Wood and twisted metal from MacLean’s tractor shed were scattered across his farm.

MacLean said the cleanup will take a long time.

"We might get some insurance, because we got it all insured," he said. "It hurt the outhouse some too, tore the shingles off that. And they can be repaired. I'm lucky I'm standing. It could have been a lot worse."

Patrick Bennett was also out surveying the storm’s damage on Sunday.

He’s going to be spending a lot of time cutting trees and branches that have been left scattered around his mother’s property, including the ones that landed on top of her truck.

After looking at the damage inflicted by the storm, he said people in the area are lucky the scale of the damage was not worse.

"Just amazing nobody's house is really damaged," he said. "It was outsheds and buildings. Nobody was hurt, so that's the main thing."

Bennett, who was visiting Cambridge Narrows from Nova Scotia on the weekend, said he was stunned by what he saw on Saturday night.

"I went to the back window and looked out, and you could see the funnel cloud actually starting to lift …. And we watched the neighbour's garage go tumbling across the neighbour's field," he said.

"It didn't touch the field. It was up in the air. So once we went outside and looked around and checked on the neighbours, they weren't home, but it was quite intense there for a few minutes."

Possible tornado

There have been several reports from citizens saying they saw a funnel cloud in the area.

Environment Canada had issued a tornado warning in the area on Saturday. The agency will be surveying the storm’s impact on Monday and will make a final decision on whether the storm was actually a tornado.

The agency has already looked at videos of the storm, such as the one taken by Matt Rideout and Alex Hache. It showed a twister touching down on Washademoak Lake.

The video has been widely circulated on social media since it was posted.

Bob Robichaud, the warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada, said he’s watched the video, and he said “it is pretty clear" that it was a tornado.

"From what we've seen so far, after the fact, it certainly looks like it was a tornado that hit that area on Saturday evening," he said.

If investigators determine a tornado did hit the area, they will also be able to confirm its intensity on the Enhanced Fujita tornado damage scale.

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