Tornado touchdown in Wyoming

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A drone photo from the Northern Tornadoes Research Project of the Batterink's farm after the July 19 storm in Wyoming. Researchers now say it was a tornado.

Storm which dumped six inches of rain also spawned a tornado says UWO researchers


When the tree blew down at the end of Calvin and Michelle Batterink’s Wyoming area farm, Michelle gathered up their six children and headed to the basement.

The rain was heavy July 19 – an estimated six inches falling in about an hour – and on Minelly Road, the winds were howling. Calvin was driving home from the field on London Line around 5:30 pm when his wife called.

“I had a breakdown in the field, so I was going home anyway. And she said, ‘should we go downstairs?’ There was nothing on the radar; like it’s raining hard. It doesn’t look crazy – no tornado warnings or severe thunderstorm warnings on that Weather Network. So you know, I didn’t think much of it.”

It wasn’t long before the family hustled to the basement. “Honestly, when the tree went down at the end of the laneway I took all six kiddos to the basement,” Michelle says.

Calvin drove through driving rain and hail and had to go all the way down to Churchill Line to access his Minielly Road home near Confederation Line because of trees in the way.

“It wasn’t too bad till I hit the bush and then it was – Yeah, the truck was shaken around pretty good.”

Soon, the Batterink’s pole barn used to store equipment was ripped apart. Thankfully, Batterink says, much of the equipment was in the field.

Western University’s Northern Tornado Project now says that storm and specifically the part of it which swept down over London Line to Minielly Road was a tornado with winds of up to 125 kms per hour. It brought the Batterink’s barn down and a house under construction on London Line also partially collapsed.

The Northern Tornadoes project says a narrow band passed through the area along with the heavy rain. The researchers searched Wyoming by drone and found the worst of the damage at the Batterink’s farm.

In town, residents watched as their streets filled with water, unaware of the other damage being caused by the storm.

Broadway Street was flooded longer with water coming up driveways and licking at the tires of other vehicles when people passed by making a wake. The force of the water was enough to knock off the bumper and a muffler from drivers out on an adventure.

Plympton-Wyoming CAO Carolyn Tripp said the storm water system functioned as expected. “No storm water system could have handled the amount of water we received without temporary flooding.”

Meantime, Calvin Batterink is just thankful the damage wasn’t any worse knowing his wife and children were at home.

“After you see the power of the wind there, you’re very thankful to the Lord that He spared them, and me of course too, but yeah, it’s really makes you realize how small you are.”