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More severe storms in Manitoba's future?

June 29, 2007
Photo: Four homes were destroyed when a tornado tore through Elie on June 22, one of seven that touched down in Manitoba that weekend.
(Wayne Hanna/Canadian Press)

Expert warns Tornado Alley may move north, while another predicts major damages in Winnipeg

Some Manitobans are wondering whether global warming is behind the recent wild weather in the province, which has been battered by a series of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms.
Seven tornadoes tore through southern Manitoba last weekend, demolishing several homes and damaging many others and capping a spring that has brought much more rain than usual to many southern areas of the province.

The number of tornadoes is not uncommon; the province usually sees an average of nine twisters per year.

But their intensity — such as the one that demolished homes in Elie on Friday night, rated at F-4 on the Fujita scale — is rare.

"It's very unusual to see an F-4 tornado in Manitoba, and indeed in Canada," said Danny Blair, a climatologist at the University of Winnipeg.

Blair said Manitoba should start preparing for the weather seen in the United States' so-called Tornado Alley — the area in the central U.S. where tornadoes are common — because he believes it's headed north to Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

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