Initially rated as an EF2 tornado with 190 km/hr winds, Environment Canada has since upgraded the Scarth area tornado to an EF3 rating, with a windspeed of 260 km/hr. Natalie Hassell, Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist, said it is also classed as a fatal tornado, with two deaths associated with the tornado strike.
Tornados can sneak up on people, as in this case, developing quickly from a thunderstorm.
A tornado warning came over cell phones, radio, television and to emails at about 8:10 in the Pipestone municipality. By that time, RCMP had already been called to the scene of tragedy with two vehicles tossed by the monster funnel.
Along with their forecasting science, Environment Canada (EC) uses on-the-ground information from the public and from storm chasers. If you have a weather picture or see something developing, you can reach them at the severe weather reporting line at 1-800-239-0484 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The email is monitored only for sever weather reports. You can also find and post information on Twitter https://twitter.com/environmentca.
The Scarth tornado and others are studied by Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP) and meteorologists with EC. NTP is a partnership between Western University and ImpactWX that aims to better detect tornado occurrence throughout Canada, improve severe and extreme weather prediction and mitigate against damage to people and property.
Their work informs new building codes as well.
If you have had a tornado, even a small one, be sure to take photos before you start clean-up and get them to Environment Canada.