Tornado flattens homes on Saskatchewan reserve; no reports of injuries

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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Severe weather continued to cause havoc in Saskatchewan on Friday, as a tornado destroyed a dozen homes and damaged others on the Kawacatoose reserve near Raymore, Sask.
One man had a close call when his roof blew right on top of him.
"That was my nephew," said Ken Dustyhorn, whose own house escaped was untouched.
"They couldn't make it into the basement, I guess. They ducked into the bathroom and the toilet got sucked right out. They were ... going to try and make it into the basement but the roof fell in on them. But they're OK, all of them are alright."
There were no other reports of injuries.
"It was so scary. Really scary," said reserve resident Amanda Bunn. "Everybody hid in their basements."
Bunn said the storm blew in over a period of about 20 minutes. The twister skipped across the village of about 70 homes, hitting one street but then missing another. Just as suddenly, it was gone.
"It was nice out and then ... it started to get real windy," she said in a phone interview. "I was home with my three kids and all of a sudden ... the rain started pouring. We saw debris flying by my windows so we ran to the basement.
"It was a matter of five minutes and it was gone. We came out and everybody's houses were wrecked and the roofs were gone, the windows and everything."
Band officials told CTV News a total of 12 homes had been destroyed and another five were damaged.
"We're planning the removal of some of our elders and our children," Chief Darin Poorman told CTV. "We have security on site. We have a central location, a command centre. We're also getting some help from the Red Cross, helping out with getting some generators in."
It wasn't just the reserve that was hit. Town councillor Brian Bentz said the town escaped unscathed, but some surrounding farms weren't so lucky.
"There's two for sure that their houses are destroyed. The houses are gone, like there's nothing left of them. And then there's two other farmyards that I know of that the houses are damaged, but quonsets and bins and stuff are gone.
"At the one place, there was I think four people home at the time. I guess they ended up seeing it coming or something and got downstairs."
Farmer Stan Mountstephen, 66, lost everything but his house.
"Stan lost his wife about three weeks ago to cancer, so it's really sad," said Brian Dionne, owner of the Raymore Hotel. "Carol's picture was facing out and the wind blew so hard that her picture was facing in after it was done."
Power was out on the reserve and band leaders had set up a central gathering place where affected residents could go for help and to get something to eat. Those whose homes were uninhabitable were being put up by others in the village for now.
"It looks bad," said Bunn. "I feel bad for their families."
Bill McMurtry of Environment Canada said there was widescale and severe thunderstorm activity across the province Friday, adding to previous days of heavy rain and storms that saw major flooding in communities from Saskatoon to Yorkton.
Tornadoes had also been spotted northwest of Moose Jaw near the communities of Brownlee and Marquis, and near the community of Wynard.
He said there had been no reports of damage from those communities, but added such reports could come in later.
"Sometimes it takes days before the damage reports come in," he said. "We expect widespread damage across the central portions of the province."
"A lot of people are camping and those people tend to be very vulnerable in these situations, so we'll have to wait and see as the reports trickle in."
High winds also uprooted trees, damaged roofs and flooded intersections in Prince Albert.
Barb Brandon told CTV News that the storm was so powerful she had to pull over to the side of the road and when she did, she looked across the street and saw the storm rip the roof off Carleton High School.
"I was thinking I wished I was at home because it was a silly place to be," she said. "It was scary."

Organizations: CTV News, Red Cross, Environment Canada Carleton High School

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Raymore, Sask., Saskatoon Yorkton Moose Jaw Brownlee Wynard

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