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Weekend tornado near Regina confirmed as first in Canada of 2023

The first twister of 2023 in the country touched down near Regina over the weekend, according to an analysis from the Northern Tornadoes Project (NTP).

The tornado was confirmed to have touched down around six kilometres southeast of Regina at 8:55 p.m. on May 27 by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

Terri Lang, a meteorologist with ECCC, confirmed NTP's claim to CTV News.

According to Lang, the tornado earned an EF0 rating, which is the lowest the rung on the Enhanced Fujita Scale used to rate tornado strength.

“The way that tornados are rated is based on the damage that they do. So, if they don’t hit anything, we can’t rate them or if we give them a just a preliminary rating of EF0.”

NTP announced that the tornado is the first of the year in Canada, following the discovery of “sufficient evidence” that the storm damaged a farm near Rowatt, Sask.

A team from the Western University-led national tornado monitoring project is expected to survey the damage on Monday.

Jennifer Kreklewich's farm was hit by Saturday's tornado.

“It’s a disaster here, and seeing all the pictures, it doesn’t do it justice,” she said. “We came home to our shop that, as I like to say, got eaten by the tornado.”

“It’s everywhere. The roof, well the back half there’s a little bit of roof left but for the most part, there is nothing left of it.”

Lang said that many tornadoes remain at the EF0 level due to them touching down in remote areas and not causing damage that can be analyzed.

However, she was sure to mention that size is not indicative of the strength of the storm.

“A lot of people think you can rate a tornado just by the way it looks. If it’s really big, it must be really strong,” she said.

“But the way I try to get people to understand is if you think about a figure skater that’s doing a twirl, the way a figure skater goes faster is he or she brings in their arms into their body or above their head and twirl faster … the strongest winds of the tornadoes tend to be the smaller ones.”

The highest rated tornado in Canada, which tore through Elie, Man. on June. 22, 2007, was measured as an F5 on the old Fujita Scale.

“If you see a video of it, it looks very spindly, very tiny and you think ‘that doesn’t look very damaging.’ Whereas the damage that it did was some of the strongest that’s been recorded,” she said.

Lang added that it’s not surprising that Saskatchewan is host to the first twister of the year, due to their frequency in the province.

“If you measure it by density, Saskatchewan has the highest number of tornadoes per year in Canada,” she explained.

“We are the extension of the ‘tornado alley’ so it’s the same sort of setup that happens in the States. It extends to the north.”

As of 12 p.m. on Monday, Jeremy Pilon, communications consultant with SGI, said they had about 54 claims due to the storm.

"The vast majority of those are from water so we’re seeing sewer backups, flooding, things like that, and we have about seven claims related to hail,” he said.

- With files from CTV News Regina's Hallee Mandryk Top Stories

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