Twisters touch down

Lawrence and Margaret Ann Beckie got the shock of a lifetime last Tuesday when a tornado touched down on their Allan Road farm, five miles east of Bladworth.

No one was injured in the violent storm, but it did tear apart trees, move their barn off its foundation, and throw around huge grain bins like they were baseballs.

Lawrence said the couple could see something serious was coming their way before the twister hit as very black clouds starting rolling and moving in fast towards them from the northwest. He said they heard a continuous rumbling, but saw very little lightning and decided to head inside the house before the storm got worse.

“The tornado hit about 2:30 p.m. when the hail started,” said Lawrence. “The heavy rain started about 2:00 and it was ferocious. I’ve never been scared of a storm before, but I was scared of that one.”

Once inside, the couple couldn’t feel the devastation taking hold outside or the funnel cloud ripping up their yard only a few feet away from their home. They said the power went off and they looked for a candle, but taking more precautionary measures didn’t occur to them at the time.

“We have a basement, but we never even thought about going down there,” said Lawrence. “If the house went, we didn’t care if we went either.”

The whirling winds caused widespread damage to rows of trees lining their farm, toppled over one grain bin and picked up another and threw it on top of a tree. The twister also moved their barn off its foundation on its north end and damaged its east wall.

“The most serious damage is to the barn, but that is covered by insurance,” he said. “We have two tractors in there and we’re lucky they didn’t go. That would have been a serious loss.

“We didn’t get any damage to the house though and that’s a good thing, a real blessing.”

The Beckie family has been on this corner section of Allan Road since 1916, starting with Lawrence’s grandfather, but this is only the second time Lawrence can remember a tornado barrelling through. His said the first time was in 1976 when a large barn that he used as a granary was completely flattened.

The cleanup was well on its way only a day after the storm, thanks in large part to their grandson Jory Cooper, 17, and full power has been restored to the farm after SaskPower removed a tree that fell on a line.

The tornado that struck the Beckie farm was one of three confirmed twisters that touched down in south-central Saskatchewan July 3 according to Environment Canada.