Tornado damages resorts and campgrounds along Rice Lake, barns, cabins wrecked
Forming near McGregor Bay on Rice Lake around 6:10pm, this destructive tornado was likely in progress as the Ida tornado was still tracking to the northwest.
This tornado progressed 6km northeastward along the north shore of the lake to Elmhirst’s Resort where damage was done throughout the property.
Nearby Sunnymead Tourist Resort was also badly struck. Owners of the resort watched in horror as the vortex approached, appearing as a solid wall of water coming up the lake. As it engulfed the campground, the roar was said to be so loud no other sounds could be distinguished. Four cabins were destroyed and many more badly damaged by the large trees that fell throughout the property. A number of vehicles were also damaged including a mobile home and a car which was flipped over.
4km northeast of Elmhirst’s, the tornado struck the Birdsall area. Birdsall Beach Resort suffered extensive damage with many cabins damaged totaling over $1M.
Nearby on Birdsall Beach Road, one farm was also maimed. A barn there was destroyed, being wiped off its foundation along with an equipment shed. Another barn was half destroyed and a shed nearby it had its roof blown off. The farmhouse was also damaged, with most of its windows blown out and the yard filled with debris.
At another historic farm in the area, two barns were blown down, with one of them being the oldest known in the county. On a more modern farm near Hastings, at the far east end of the lake, a silo’s top was blown off and smashed through the roof of an adjacent building. The tornado likely lifted off near this area.
Besides building damage, many of the roads and lanes on the north side of the lake were blocked off with thousands of fallen trees which hampered recovery efforts.
A large part of Asphodel township had such widespread damage that even the oldest residents had never experienced such destruction.
Fortunately, only one person was seriously injured during the tornado. In Hastings, flying glass gave a man lacerations as a window he was near blew in. He was hospitalized and quickly released.
Multiple paths of damage were found in the area around the northeast end of Rice Lake, and it is possible that there was more than one tornado touchdown, although only one was confirmed by Environment Canada.