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The June 22, 2007 Elie, Man. tornado remains the strongest recorded one in Canadian history. // Photo from Justin J. Hobson

The June 22, 2007 Elie tornado. // Photo from Justin Hobson

An alumnus’ eyewitness account of strongest recorded tornado in Canadian history

The following is a first-person account of the Elie tornado from U of M alumnus Justin J. Hobson:

In May 2007, I was hired to work at the Environment Canada weather office as part of the University of Manitoba Bachelor of Science Co-Op program. On June 22, 2007 conditions were favorable for severe thunderstorm development over portions of southern Manitoba. I was excited to go storm chasing after work that day because weather models had hinted at the potential for severe thunderstorms several days in advance.

After leaving work I noticed explosive thunderstorm development northwest of Winnipeg. I arrived at my home in Oak Bluff and grabbed my camera and baseball cap. I then went to my computer to wait for the next radar scan to see if the thunderstorm cell was strengthening; it was, big time.

Upon reaching that highway I witnessed a wall cloud; the precursor to tornado development. I then parked on a gravel road one mile south of Elie, placed my camcorder on the roof of my vehicle, hit record and watched.

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