Morson devastated by tornado

Two minutes…
That is all it took for some 40 tons of house boats to be flipped right over at Morson Marina Tuesday morning by a tornado.
Lorne Gill, of Gills’ Morson Marina, said that about 6:35 a.m. Tuesday he was just getting ready to start his day when all of a sudden he felt the air pressure change in his second story apartment.
“It was like everything was falling down on me . . . I felt like all the blood was leaving my head,” said Gill.
It happened so fast that Gill said he was lucky to get the window closed before he hit the deck in the hallway of the second story. There was no time to get to the lower part of building. “It was all over in about two minutes,” said Gill who was amazed at what Mother Nature had done to the marina.
He was lucky as the tornado left the building he lives in unscathed; just 50 feet from an overturned 20 ton house boat.
That house boat was on a trailer facing from west to east. The twister picked it up off the trailer and dropped it about 60 feet from where it had been. It landed upside down on a row of cars and likely would have ended up in the lake like its sister ship.
The other house boat had been moored at the marina. It was being cleaned by Wanda Lundgren when the storm hit. It was picked up out of the water and dropped upside down 150 feet from where it was. Lundgren escaped with her life.
Gill said that she was lucky to find a round life preserver floating in the water and made it to shore. She was taken to Rainy River Health Centre with cuts and bruises. “She was mostly in shock,” said Gill.
The twister also destroyed a storage shed at neighbouring Pier North. In fact it picked up one section of wall 8 feet by 20 feet and dropped it about 500 yards away at the marina. It then picked up all the freezers that were in it and dropped them at the marina as well.
Several smaller boats were turned upside down on the water and on shore. Boat houses were chewed up and spit out like they were paper. One boat house from across the bay from the marina was picked up and dropped in the middle of the channel.
The Ark, a very big houseboat, got loose and took out several docks just north of the marina, and Canada North Houseboats was reporting a great deal of damage to its landing and buildings. All of its houseboats were reportedly out on the lake and did not sustain damage.
Hydro poles were snapped off like toothpicks all over the Morson area. Power was restored for several hours to most of the region at about 1:30 p.m. However pole crews were just getting to the Morson area at that time. About 7 p.m. the power went off again in the region.
One estimate put the damage in the Morson area at about $8 million.
The shock of the twister left people wondering what had happened. But that was not the end of the day. Rain started coming around lunch time and did not let up until midnight in some areas. The road was washed out near Big Grassy and there were reports of similar happenings across the area.
Bob Johnston of Rainy River recorded 12.01 inches of rain in a twelve hour period with about five of it falling between 5 and 8 p.m. Three inches fell from noon to five and the rest fell after 8 p.m. With no power until about 11 p.m. many people reported having as much as six feet of water in their basements.