A family is picking up the pieces — with a lot of help — after a tornado hit their farmyard on Saturday.
Jill Smith was at a neighbour's farm when she saw the storm clouds begin to swirl above in the Meyronne, Sask., area. She packed up her three children with her at the time and headed home to be safe.
"Then it started coming our way and so it quickly developed into a tornado probably five minutes after we got home," Smith said.
She and her three children quickly went into the basement under the stairs into a storage room.
"We could hear the rumbling," she said. "We could hear stuff flying and all around us and above us and it just seemed like everything was going to be gone."
When the sounds calmed, Smith and her children emerged to take stock. The house will still there but badly damaged with part of the roof on one side torn off and every building in their yard gone. Bits and pieces were scattered for kilometres around her home, she said.
"The garage, but then also we had a great big chicken coop … a garden shed and a couple play houses," Smith said. "All of that's gone."
West of Lafleche SK <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/skstorm?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#skstorm</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/tornado?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#tornado</a> <a href="https://t.co/Wjfwap6s9h">pic.twitter.com/Wjfwap6s9h</a>
Smith said the family with five kids moved to the property about five years ago and finally had everything how they wanted it. Now, they are starting all over again. She said they do have insurance for the property.
The Smith family has had help picking up the scattered remains of the other buildings. About 60 people turned out to help on Sunday and people came to help rebuild on Monday as well.
"Many hands make light work," Smith said. "We have lots of help and support from family and friends and community, church family and [it] just helps to lean on the Lord and just take it one step at a time."
Her five children are also being supported by cousins and friends, she said.
"I just want to say a huge thank you and that there is just no words," Smith said. "They are a blessing straight from the Lord. There is no other way to say it than that. Just a blessing."
Environment and Climate Change Canada said it is still working to determine the F-rating of the tornado. Three were confirmed in Saskatchewan on Saturday.
Environment Canada meteorologist Mark Melsness said July is the peak month for tornadoes and that Saskatchewan averages about 16 tornadoes a year.
The Red Cross recommends identifying a safe place to go in the event of a tornado in advance, such as a basement, storm cellar or room indoors with no windows on the main floor. In an apartment building, people should go to a hallway in the centre of the building or the lowest floor. In mobile homes, people should go to a place in a nearby sturdy building.
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